Collection location: Los Trancos Preserve, Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co., California, USA [Click for map]
Ok, not sure about these, like I say with almost every Russula sighting… These are good size, and have exactly the same taster at the R. simillima I’ve been calling the other ones, taking 10-20 secs. to build up to acrid, and then not quite as acrid as R. cremoricolor. The caps are kinda purple-red when young, but then fade to a light lilac-pink in the older ones. I even found some really old beat up whitish ones near by, but they were too beat up tell if they are the same maybe, or just some old R. cremoricolor.
I was abl;e to get a spore print this time, and the spores are white-white. I’ve had problem with spore prints and Russulas in the past, and there was a comment on the BAMS list from Dr. Rodham E. Tulloss that Russulas, along with Amanitas, will stop making spores if there is a change in elevation. I gather these up near maybe 2000 ft. and take them home to my house at about 50 ft., so that might be it. It took me quite a few tries to get a spore print for R. amoenolens, but I finally got a light yellow-creamy color spore print for that one. So, it doesn’t shut it down completely, but there is some evidence that getting a spore print with a change in elevation in Russulas in problematic.
Anyway, with the acrid taste, the red fading cap, and white spore print this points to R. simillima or R. paxilloides. Looking at the features in the discription, the only clear difference your could see it seems is the hight of the warts on the spores, one has short warts, and the other tall warts… oh, boy. But some features which might happen are seen here, the gills fork. I didn’t see this before, but in each of these a number of gills can be seen to fork somewhere close to the margin. This is easy to see in the third photo, and in the younger cap if you look close. The descriptions for the two state that R. simillima rarely forks near the stipe, and R. paxilloides rarely forks near the margin. So, I’m going for it…
I’m really confused by what he mean rarely forks, does this mean rarely you find a ’shroom with some number of forking gills, or that for a given ’shroom you will find some small number of gills forking. Because I saw it on each one of these ’shrooms that there was gills forking near the margin.
Other problems, he lists R. paxilloides as very acrid, and I wouldn’t say that, although they are acrid. And that lamellulae are absent, except in all of these there some small amount of lamellulae present, so I don’t know.
Anyway, until I can measure the hight of the warts on the spores, I guess that is all I can say. (Except to say, hight of
warts on spores makes for a different species?!?)