The Cortinarius rubellus (Cortinarius rubellus Cooke, 1887) is a fungidiomycete mushroom, among the most deadly in existence, of the Cortinariaceae family. The term Cortinarius speciosissimus Kühner & Romagn is synonymous.
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Domain Eukaryota, Kingdom Fungi, Phylum Basidiomycota, Subphylum Agaricomycotina, Class Agaricomycetes, Sottoclasse Agaricomycetidae, Order Agaricales, Family Cortinariaceae and then to the Genus Cortinarius, to the Subgenus Leprocybe and to the C. Rubellus species.
The term Cortinarius comes from a curtain: with a curtain, due to the characteristic residues of the partial veil from the edge of the hat to the jamb. The specific epithet rubellus is due to the characteristic color of the carpophore.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Cortinarius rubellus is a terricolous fungus that appears in the late summer-autumn period; it is an often gregarious mushroom that we find preferably under conifers. It is quite widespread in northern Italy but not very present in central and southern Italy. It is a widespread species both in North America and in Europe.
The Cortinarius rubellus is recognized for having a hat of 3-8 cm diameter, initially conical and then becoming more and more flat, with an acute and rarely obtuse humbone, up to being a bit ‘depressed in the older specimens. The margin is involute and the surface covered by fribille, with an opaque appearance and color that varies from brick red to dark suede (like C. orellanus). The lamellae are identical in color to the hat, smorginato-decorrenti and hook, first sparse and then spaced when the hat, when ripe, becomes flat or depressed. The curtain is yellowish in color, well visible only in the first stage of development.
The stem is 5-14 × 0.5-2 cm, cylindrical, subclaviform with an attenuated base, of a color that can vary from ochraceous to reddish-brown, soon decorated with remains of light yellow veil forming annular bands with typical zig-zag design; visible in some cases only with careful observation modifying the angle of incidence of light on the stem. The meat is straw-colored with nuances of brick red, but as the age goes on it becomes colorless with the hat and silky. The smell is slightly and with sweet taste (do not taste).
Microscopy shows spores of 8-11 × 6.5-8.5 μm, subglobose, decorated with warts, ocher in bulk and potassium hydroxide. The basidia are 29-36 × 9-11 μm, claviformes, tetrasporic and hyaline.
The Cortinarius rubellus, obviously, for its mortality does not have any interest in cultivation, at least for food purposes.
Uses and Traditions –
It is one of the most dangerous deadly mushrooms that exist; together with Cortinarius orellanus Fries is responsible for Orellan Syndrome, long-latency syndrome. The substance responsible for the syndrome is orellanin, present in Europe only in the two species described above. Orellanin is a thermostable substance and the toxicity of the fungi containing it is not altered by cooking or drying. It affects kidneys and liver with very long latency (3 to 14 days after ingestion). The fatal action of this fungus also seems to be related to a group of toxins some of which are still unknown.
The Cortinarius rubellus is unfortunately and often confused with the mushrooms called “Chiodelli” (of the Genus Chroogomphus) causing tragic poisonings to a greater extent than it does with Cortinarius orellanus.
Preparation Mode –
This mushroom, due to its mortality and the thermo-stability of some toxins, should not be consumed in any form.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Cetto B., 2008. Real mushrooms, Saturnia, Trento.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only and do not in any way represent a medical prescription; there is therefore no liability for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.