Blackening Russula

(Russula albonigra)

Conservation Status
Blackening Russula
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Blackening Russula is a large, widely distributed, gill mushroom. It occurs in eastern Europe, North America, and Mexico. In the United States it occurs east of the Mississippi River and west of the Great Plains, but is absent in-between and mostly absent from the southeast. It is uncommon in Minnesota. It is found in the summer and fall, scattered or in groups, in deciduous and mixed woodlands. It grows on the ground under deciduous or coniferous trees. It is ectomycorrhizal, obtaining its nutrients from the rootlets of trees and providing neutral or positive feedback.

The cap is convex when young. As it matures it flattens out, becoming broadly convex or depressed at the center. With age it eventually becomes broadly depressed in the center. The mature cap is 2¾ to 8 (7 to 20 cm) wide. When young it is white, hairless, smooth, dry, and sometimes waxy to the touch. It soon turns brownish, gray, or blackish-brown, and eventually almost black. It does not have an intermediate red stage. If the white cap is broken or bruised, it will turn dark brown or black in about 20 minutes. It will not turn red. The upper skin cannot be easily peeled off.

The gills are thick and are moderately or almost broadly spaced. There are usually short gills alternating with the long gills. The long gills are broadly attached to the stalk and may slightly run down the stalk. They are white at first, soon turning brownish or grayish, and eventually turning almost black.

The stalk is 1¼ to 5 (3 to 13 cm) long and ¾ to 2 (2 to 5 cm) thick. It is solid, stiff, and very hard. It is white at first, soon turning brownish or grayish, and eventually turning almost black.

The flesh is edible and the taste is mild if thoroughly cooked. However, eating is not recommended due to its similarity to a poisonous, closely related, Asian species.

The spore print is white.


Similar Species

Habitat and Hosts

Woodlands. Tree rootlets.




Summer and fall


Distribution Map



4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.





  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Division Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subdivision Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Russulales  
  Family Russulaceae (milkcaps, brittlegills, and allies)  
  Genus Russula (brittlegills)  
  Subgenus Compactae  
  Subsection Nigricantinae  

Some authorities believe Russula albonigra is restricted to Europe. They claim that the North American species is Russula dissimulans, which may be the same species as (conspecific with) Russula nigricans. The North American species was separated in 2008. Most European sources accept the separation. Most American sources do not.




Agaricus alboniger

Russula adusta var. albonigra

Russula albonigra var. pseudonigricans

Russula nigricans var. albonigra


Common Names


Blackening Brittlegill (Europe)

Blackening Russula











A symbiotic, neutral or beneficial relationship between a fungus and the tiny rootlets of a plant, usually a tree, where the hyphae surround but do not penetrate the rootlets.

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    Blackening Russula   Blackening Russula  
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Location: Cass County

Blackening Russula  






Created: 10/5/2020

Last Updated:

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