Emetic Russula (Russula emetica)


Emetic Russula Cap

The Emetic Russula (Russula emetica) is a toadstool in the Russula Family (Russulaceae) and order Russulales. The photographs show a partially eaten fungus but also exposes much of the fungus's flesh making the identification easier. THIS FUNGUS IS POISONOUS. The species name indicates that this fungus is a strong emetic, that is, it produces vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. This russula has a bright scarlet or cherry red cap, white stem and white gills as shown in the photographs. The sticky cap is from one to four inches (2.5 to 10 centimeters) in diameter. The stalk can be up to four inches (10 centimeters) long and an inch (2.5centimeters) thick. This fungus smells fruity. It grows in sphagnum moss as the photographs show but may also be found in wet woods or on rotting wood. Red Squirrels eat these fungi without apparent harmful effects. Squirrels frequent the area where this Emetic Russula was found and quite possibly sampled this toadstool.

Emetic Russula Cap and Stem

The toxicity of the Emetic Russula and its bitter taste is said to disappear when cooked sufficiently. However, one of these fungi can poison an entire pot. It should not be eaten. Unfortunately, a number of edible Russulas resemble this species. Russula xerampelina commonly called the Shellfish-scented Russula, Crab Brittlegill or Shrimp Mushroom is easily mistaken for the Emetic Russula. However, Russula xerampelina smells like cooked shellfish and has yellowish gills. In general, Russulas should not be consumed unless their edibility can be positively confirmed. That confirmation may require microscopic examination.

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