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Blackish Purple Russula

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

This imaginatively named mushroom belongs to a great family for novice foragers to learn about. They are very common and it is easy to distinguish between the poisonous and edibles within the Russula family.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Blackish Purple Russula, Purple Brittlegill
Scientific Name Russula atropurpurea
Season Start Aug
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 6
Average Cap width (CM) 10
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Cap

It is a dark red wine colour with purple to almost black in the middle. Starting convex, flattening with a depression in the middle.

Gills

Gills white/cream, neat, brittle and slightly connected to stem. Crowded when young.

Stem

White becoming off white/ grey with age. Should snap a bit like chalk.

Flesh

White with a granular feel.

Habitat

Mixed woodland, particularly Oak and Beech.

Possible Confusion

Other red or purple Russulas (see the Beechwood Sickener). A good test for Russulas is the taste test, if a tiny amount is placed on the tongue and chewed a burn like chilli means the mushroom is poisonous, a pleasant mushroomy taste means it is edible. This test should only be attempted when you are certain you have a mushroom from the Russula family.

This mushroom can be peppery on the tongue but is edible when cooked so care should be taken when identifying this mushroom for consumption.

Spore Print

Off white. Subglobose to globose.

Taste / Smell

Smell is sweet and fruity. Taste can be fairly mild but more often moderately hot and chilli like, in particular in the gills. The taste test should only be done when you’re certain that you have a Russula and the chewed bits should be spat out. This mushroom must be cooked before consumption.

Frequency

Common.

Other Facts

The Russula family split from other mushrooms, evolutionarily, many years ago and have round cells instead of elongated cells like most living organisms, this gives Russulas the common name Brittlegills as the cells make the mushroom brittle.

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