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A Big Russula

A Big Russula
Photo Information
Copyright: Steve Reekie (LordPotty) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1381 W: 144 N: 3872] (12503)
Genre: Fungi
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-03-12
Categories: Rain Forest
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5
Exposure: f/8, 1/10 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): New Zealand Fungi [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-03-17 2:03
Viewed: 9407
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
In the Nothofagus (beech) forests of the South Island,there is an abundance of unique fungi.
Many species are yet to be described,and I see many that I just cannot put a name to.
At the time of writing,this is just a Russula.
The exact species I am unsure of at the moment.
I've asked Clive Shirley,but he doesn't know either.
Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the species...
It was large in any case,almost as large as the beautiful red and whit Amanita I posted yesterday.
My closest guess so far is that it could be an immature Russula brevipes.

Here is some information on Russula I found in Wikipedia:

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Fungi
Subkingdom: Dikarya
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Subphylum: Agaricomycotina
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Russulales
Family: Russulaceae
Genus: Russula
Pers. 1797
Diversity:700 species

Around 750 worldwide species of mycorrhizal mushrooms compose the genus Russula. They are typically common, fairly large, and brightly colored - making them one of the most recognizable genera among mycologists and mushroom collectors. Their distinguishing characteristics include a white to dark yellow spore print, brittle free white gills, and an absence of partial veil or volva tissue on the stem. Members of the related Lactarius genus have similar characteristics but emit a milky latex when their gills are broken. The genus was described by Christian Hendrik Persoon in 1796.


Like the genus Lactarius, Russulas have a distinctive flesh consistency, which is also reflected in the appearance of the gills and stipe, and normally makes them immediately recognizable. They have no trace of a veil (no ring, or veil remnants on the cap). The gills are brittle except in a few cases, and cannot be bent parallel with the cap without breaking. The spore powder varies from white to cream, or even orange.

While it is relatively easy to identify a sample mushroom as belonging to this genus, it is a significant challenge to distinguish member species of Russula. This task often requires microscopic characteristics, and subtle subjective distinctions, such as the difference between a mild to bitter and a mild to acrid flavor. Moreover the exact phylogenetic relationships of these mushrooms have yet to be resolved in the professional mycological community, and may ultimately depend on DNA sequencing analysis.

The following characteristics are often important in identifying individual species:

the exact colour of the spore powder (white/cream/ochre),
the taste (mild/bitter/acrid),
colour changes in the flesh,
the distance from the centre to which the cap skin can be pulled off: (peeling percentage).
cap colour (but this is often very variable within one species),
reaction of the flesh to ferrous sulphate (FeSO4), formalin, alkalis, and other chemicals,
ornamentation of the spores, and
other microscopic characteristics, such as the appearance of the cystidia in various mounting reagents.
Despite the difficulty in positively identifying collected specimens, the possibility to spot the toxic species by their acrid taste makes some of the mild species, such as R. cyanoxantha and R.. vesca, popular edible mushrooms. As far as is known, no species of Russula is deadly poisonous and mild-tasting ones are all edible.
Note that this rule applies only to Russulas and not to other types of mushrooms!
The main pattern of toxicity seen among Russula species to date has been gastrointestinal symptoms in those with a bitter taste when eaten raw or undercooked; many of these are red-capped species such as R. emetica, R. sardonia and R. nobilis. However, rhabdomyolysis was seen after consumption of R. subnigricans in Taiwan. Several active agents have been isolated; one designated russuphelin A by researchers in Japan.

The following is a short list of a few of the Russula species:

This is a list of Russula species.

Russula acetolens
Russula acrifolia Romagn.
Russula adulterina
Russula adusta Fr.[1]
Russula aeruginea – Grass-green Russula
Russula alachuana
Russula albida
Russula albidula
Russula albonigra Fr.
Russula alutacea
Russula amethystina
Russula amoenicolor
Russula amoenolens Romagn.
Russula anthracina Romagn.
Russula aquosa
Russula atropurpurea

Russula aureaRussula aurea (prev. R. aurata)
Russula ballouii
Russula betularum
Russula brevipes (= R. acrior)
Russula caerulea
Russula cascadensis
Russula cerolens
Russula cessans
Russula chloroides
Russula claroflava Grove – Yellow Swamp Russula
Russula compacta
Russula crustosa
Russula cutefracta
Russula cyanoxantha – The Charcoal Burner

Russula decoloransRussula decolorans
Russula delica Fr. – Milk-white Russula
Russula densifolia Gill.
Russula elaeodes (Bres.) Romagn.
Russula emetica – The Sickener
Russula erumpens Clel. & Cheel – Erupting Mushroom
Russula faginea Romagn.
Russula farinipes Romell
Russula fellea – Geranium-scented Russula
Russula flavida
Russula flocktoniae
Russula foetens Pers.: Fr. – Foetid Russula

Russula fragilis Pers.: Fr.
Russula fragrantissima Romagn. (= R. laurocerasi (Melzer))
Russula gracillima Jul.Schaff.
Russula grata Britz.
Russula grisea
Russula grisecens
Russula heterophylla Fr.
Russula illota Romagn.
Russula inamoena
Russula integra
Russula ionochlora
Russula knauthii
Russula laeta J.Schäffer (= R. borealis)
Russula lenkunya
Russula livescens (Batsch) Quél

Russula luteaRussula lutea
Russula melzeri
Russula mexicana Burl.
Russula murrillii Burl.
Russula nigricans Fr. – Blackening Russula
Russula nobilisVelen. – Beechwood Sickener (previously Russula mairei)
Russula ochroleuca – Common Yellow Russula
Russula olivacea(Schaeff.) Fr.
Russula paludosa
Russula parazurea
Russula pectinatoides Peck (= R. pectinata ss.auct.)
Russula persanguinea
Russula pseudoaffinis
Russula pseudodelica J.Lange
Russula pseudointegra
Russula puellaris
Russula purpurata Crawshay
Russula purpureoflava
Russula pulverulenta
Russula queletti
Russula risigallina
Russula rosea Pers. – Rosy Russula (= R. lepida Fr, R. rosacea[verification needed] (Pers.) S.F. Gray)
Russula rubescens

Russula sanguinariaRussula sanguinaria (Schumach.) Rauschert – Red Russula, Bloody Brittlegill (= R. sanguinea Fr.)
Russula sardonia – Changeable Russula
Russula seperina
Russula sororia (Fr.) Rom.
Russula subfoetens A.H. Smith
Russula subnigricans
Russula subrubens (J. Lange) M.Bon (= R. chamiteae Kühn.)
Russula torulosa
Russula uncialis
Russula variata
Russula velutipes Velen. 1920 (= R. rosea Quél.)
Russula ventricosipes
Russula versicolor
Russula vesca – Bare-toothed Russula, The Flirt
Russula violeipes
Russula virescens
Russula viscida
Russula xanthoporphyrea Thiers
Russula xerampelina (= R. erythropus) – Shrimp Mushroom

I hope you like this big white beauty from our southern beech forests.

Cheers & thanks for looking,

Miss_Piggy, Hormon_Manyer, zulfu, haraprasan, Dis. Ac., boreocypriensis, jconceicao, vorpal has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Steve
Wow what a list of information you have given us today. Very interesting. I think I can help you with the identification. It is according to my knowledge "A big fat mushroom" - Ha-ha. Oops, sorry that is all I know. I am really going to get very clever on this site, because I have learned more in the one year I have been part of Trek Nature than all the Biology and Geography lessons I had whilst being at school, and it is so much fun too. I really like the sight of this huge fungi in the shape of an umbrella. I also like the shine in the center. Thanks for sharing.
Best regards.

Hi Steve,

Yes, Russulales order and its 2 generas (Russula and Lactarius) are very typical, and easily recognized even by inexperienced amateurs as generas. Which is much, much more difficult, sometimes macroscopically impossible is identifying the exact species. Don't feel any shame You also didn't manage to, at least here - all of us have photos about unidentified Russulas. :) There's one in my gallery also, but You already commented it ca. one and a half years ago.

Taxonomical add-on: there are much more than 1000 Russula species. With all the subspecies, variants, forms, invalid names etc. Index Fungorum mentions 2313 records within the genus.

Tfs, best wishes, László

hello Steve
beautiful picture
good sharpness
nice composition
great shot
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-03-17 10:18]

Hello Steve, fine macro shot of this mushroom. details an your point of view are exccellent.
TFS and G's,

Namastay Steve,
A very good capture of this beautiful mushroom. Excellent sharp details and a nice composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-03-17 12:25]

Hello Steve,
Another fantastic photo. Most of all I like the beautiful soft and splendid contrasting colours. Great sharp details and a very good POV, DOF and composition.

Hi Steve,

It looks me also an Russula and they are very difficlt to indentify.
Good low pov and good of sharpness.
Beautiful natural colours.


Hi Steve, another simply perfect image of a newly detected mushroom with excellent clarity and loooooong:) accompanying useful notes on the species.
TFS and cheers,

Hello Steve,

Fantastic photo of this beautiful Russula.
Great colours with excellent details.
Lighting and composition are splendid.

Superb capture of this monster Steve! DOF and focus are nicely done!

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