Collection location: Wilder Ridge, Humboldt Co., California, USA [Click for map]
This is a green Russula that I’ve been collecting ever since I was a kid. The identification is based on Thiers section on Russula in Agaricales of California. It has a greenish pileus, white acrid flesh, and a yellowish spore color. Based on these photos I’m assuming it slowly stains reddish, but I hadn’t noticed that before. Thiers’ description also mentionish grayish spots on the stipe which this specimen seems to have.
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Using the key by Harry Thiers and your info of yellow spores and acrid taste it also lands at R. urens. In the last paragraph on page 122 Thiers says “There are several other green species within the state, but R. urens is the only one with an acrid taste and yellow to dark yellow spores”. Using photos it appears to be R. aeruginea and it is an excellent fit in Schaeffer and the Thiers photo, including the blackish disc and scattered blackish areas toward the margin. Problems with R. aeruginea: Gills yellow but spore print only pale yellow and Swiss VI says mild taste, somewhat acrid after a few minutes. R. aeruginea seems like a decent fit and maybe you can narrow down the choices if you collect it again.
Yeah, Thiers also suggests that R. consobrina is more on the grey/brown side than the green side. However, it’s the closest I’ve come to putting a name on these. Any other species you think likely?
Three of the European color guides have excellent clear photos of this species and they are almost a medium gray to brown. Also Julius Schaeffer has a watercolor of it and it’s brown with dark brown areas. The only book in English is Swiss VI and it says “gray- to olive brown” and I ASSUME that dash means graybrown to olive brown. Kibby & Fatto list it for Northeastern North America and they say the cap is umber to olive-brown or grayish, but they lack photos in their book.