(Russula spp.)

Brittlegill (Russula sp.)
Photo by Luciearl

Russula is a very common, very widespread, and very large genus of gilled mushrooms called brittlegills. It occurs on every continent, including Antarctica. There are about 750 Russula species worldwide. About 200 species have been reported in the United States, and at least 43 species have been recorded in Minnesota.

Brittlegills are usually found in woodlands but can also be found at the edges of pastures, in shrubby areas, and even on lawns near trees. They have a mutually beneficial relationship with trees and other woody plants. The fungus forms a highly-branched network around but into the cells of the host plant roots that helps the roots take up water and minerals and survive unfavorable conditions. In exchange, the fungus gets access to carbohydrates.


Brittlegills are mostly large and are often brightly colored. Mature fruiting bodies have a flat or depressed cap that is often wider than the stalk is long. The stalk is straight, not bulbous at the base. The flesh is usually white. The gills are white when young but may yellow with age. The fruiting body is rigid and the flesh is dry or granular. The stalk, cap, and gills are all dry, rigid, and brittle. This is the feature that gives the genus its common name. The stem on many species will snap cleanly and audibly like a piece of chalk.

With experience, it is often easy to identify a mushroom in the Russula genus by appearance alone. However, fewer than three dozen are easily identified to the species level. Identifying the others requires a microscope and chemical compounds. For this reason, mushroomers sometimes disparagingly refer to them as JARs, “Just Another Russula."


Distribution Map



4, 7, 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)  

Subordinate Taxa


Almond-scented Russula (Russula fragrantissima)

Almond-scented Russula (Russula grata)

Beautiful Russula (Russula pulchra)

Bicolored Russula (Russula bicolor)

Blackening Brittlegill (Russula nigricans)

Blackening Russula (Russula albonigra)

Blackish-red Russula (Russula vinacea)

Blood Red Russula (Russula rosacea)

Bloody Brittlegill (Russula sanguinea)

Blue-green Cracking Russula (Russula parvovirescens)

brittlegill (Russula amoenicolor)

brittlegill (Russula aurata)

brittlegill (Russula cerolens)

brittlegill (Russula flavisiccans)

brittlegill (Russula foetentula)

brittlegill (Russula pulverulenta)

brittlegill (Russula romagnesiana)

Camembert Brittlegill (Russula amoenolens)

Charcoal Burner (Russula cyanoxantha)

Charcoal Burner (Russula cyanoxantha var. variata)

Copper Brittlegill (Russula decolorans)

Crowded Brittlegill (Russula densifolia)

Emetic Russula (Russula silvicola)

Fishbiscuit Russula (Russula compacta)

Fragile Brittlegill (Russula fragilis)

Green Brittlegill (Russula aeruginea)

Green Quilt Russula (Russula crustosa)

Green Russula (Russula aeruginea)

Hintapink (Russula paludosa)

Milk-white Brittlegill (Russula delica)

Ochre Brittlegill (Russula ochroleuca)

Primrose Brittlegill (Russula sardonia)

Purple-bloom Russula (Russula mariae)

Redhead Russula (Russula rhodocephala)

Rosy Brittlegill (Russula rosea)

Shellfish-scented Russula (Russula xerampelina)

Short-stemmed Russula (Russula brevipes)

Small Yellow Russula (Russula lutea)

Stinking Brittlegill (Russula foetens)

Tardy Brittlegill (Russula cessans)

Variable Russula (Russula variata)

Viscid Brittlegill (Russula viscida)

Winter Russula (Russula cremoricolor)

Yellow Swamp Brittlegill (Russula claroflava)






Common Names










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Rochelle Quick


numerous found in patch, measuring 5-7 inches across.

    Brittlegill (Russula sp.)   Brittlegill (Russula sp.)  


    Brittlegill (Russula sp.)      








Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Red Russula mushrooms
Anna McHugh

Feb 24, 2021

How to recognize Russula mushrooms. Russula is a genus with 700+ species, many of which are red or pink. Learn how to ID Russulas to genus and figure out whether or not to eat them.

  Identification of Russula Mushrooms

Feb 17, 2020

Heres a look at a very common genus of mushrooms. Russula, which have many color variants on the cap. Some edible, some poisonous, and some still yet to be discovered.

Also, check out lots more foraging and herbalism videos, articles, and upcoming classes at

  Wild Mushroom Foraging in the Woodlands - Russula Series

Nov 15, 2014

Foraging for the best of ingredients.

Fraser is currently developing a catering and/or supply business which is primarily vegetarian, with meat dishes that can be served on the side.

A CAN FILM for WoodlandsTV




Visitor Sightings

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  Rochelle Quick

Location: southern Beltrami County

numerous found in patch, measuring 5-7 inches across.

Brittlegill (Russula sp.)


Location: Isanti County

my backyard


Location: Cass County

Brittlegill (Russula sp.)







Created: 10/2/2021

Last Updated:

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