Russula heterophylla

Russula heterophylla

The Russula heterophylla (Russula heterophylla (Fr.) Fr.) is a basidiomycete fungus of the Russulaceae family.

Systematics –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Fungi Kingdom, Phylum Basidiomycota, Class Basidiomycetes, Russulales Order, Russulaceae Family and therefore to the Genus Russula and to the Specie R. heterophylla.

Etymology –
The term Russula is the diminutive of russus red: a little red. The specific epithet heterophylla comes from the Greek ἕτερος héteros variable, different, irregular and from φύλλον phýllon leaf, lamella: which has different forms.

Geographical Distribution and Habitat –
The Russula heterophylla is a symbiont mushroom, which grows in broad-leaved woods (in particular hornbeam, oak and chestnut) and conifers. It is a fairly common mushroom that fructifies early, more or less widely, from late May to late October.

Recognition –
The Russula heterophylla is recognized by the hat of 5-12 cm in diameter, first convex-subspherical and then flattened and slightly depressed, with the cuticle difficult to separate from the hat, slightly viscous in moist, bright and smooth weather, sometimes chapped with time dry, with green color, more load in the center with yellowish, greyish or burgundy nuances.
The gills are dense, thin, low towards the stem, attached, slightly decurrent, connected to each other by low bifurcated veins (anastomose), poorly lardaceous, white or cream-white.
The stem is 3–6 x 1–3 cm, hard, compact, regular, cylindrical, often attenuated at the base, white color with a tendency to turn yellow, with brown spots at the base in old age.
The flesh is white, compact, somewhat elastic, with a pleasant smell, not very intense and mild taste.
Under the microscope, spores of 5–7 x 4–6 µm are noted, white in mass, from globose to ellipsoidal, with warts 0.2–0.6 µm high. Cystidia are clavate, cylindrical and fusiform.

Cultivation –
Russula heterophylla is not a cultivated mushroom.

Uses and Traditions –
This mushroom, known and sought after for its edibility, according to the judgments of good to excellent, is one of the few that can be eaten raw without problems; it differs from other Russulas in more or less green colors due to the characteristic areolation of the cap, for the firm and compact flesh.
When collecting it, extreme care must be taken not to confuse it with the deadly Amanita phalloides, as unfortunately sometimes happens with distracted and superficial collectors.

Preparation Mode –
This Russula can be eaten both raw and cooked in various ways, even according to some local traditions. It also lends itself to conservation and to various condiments alone or in a mixture of mushrooms.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.– Cetto B., 2008. The mushrooms from life, Saturnia, Trento.– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, do not in any way represent a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is assumed for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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