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The Charcoal Burner

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

One of the best tasting Russulas but to identify it you need to know the family as it doesn’t have the brittle gills typical of the other Russulas.

Mushroom Type
Common Names The Charcoal Burner
Scientific Name Russula cyanoxantha
Season Start Jul
Season End Oct
Average Mushroom height (CM) 11
Average Cap width (CM) 15
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Convex to flattening with a depression in the centre. The colour can vary considerably being olive, brown, wine, grey, purple or even yellowish. Greasy when wet.


Gills white and flexible unlike other Russulas whose gills are brittle.


White, firm and staining slightly green when rubbed with iron salts.


White, thick and firm.


Mixed and broad leaved woodland particularly beech. Said to grow in troops but I have only found individual mushrooms.

Possible Confusion

Other Russulas but these have brittle gills rather than the charcoal burners flexible ones.
The stems of other Russulas stain salmon pink when rubbed with iron salts whereas the burner stains slightly green.

Spore Print

White to pale cream. Broadly ellipsoid.

Taste / Smell

Good, mild and nutty.


Fairly common.


2 comments for The Charcoal Burner

  1. James England says:

    Hi I’ve found quite a few of these I think but I’m confused by the flexible / brittle gill description. When I run my thumb along them they flake away like almond flakes. What am I looking for in terms of flexibility? Thanks

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      If it is a Charcoal Burner the gills will flex like most other mushrooms, if they are flaking off easily then it is not a Charcoal Burner. There are several look-a-like Russulas but the taste test is the best way to see if it is edible. See our Identifying Russula article.

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