''Russula emetica''

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Russula emetica

  • Kingdom: Fungi
  • Division: Basidiomycota
  • Class: Agaricomycetes
  • Order: Russulales
  • Family: Russulaceae
  • Genus: Russula
  • Species: R. emetica

Common Name(s)

The sickener, emetic russula, or vomiting russula.



Fruiting Body General Description (General Characteristics)

Russula emetica is characterized by having a red cap (pileus) in which the cuticle peels 1/3-3/4 of cap radius, a pure white stem (stipe), and a very acrid or peppery hot taste. Normal size is 5-15cm. Gills are adnexed to free. Whitish spore print. [1&2]

Cap/Hymenophore Description

Cap is convex to shield the stem. Cap is red or redish in color. Cap is 3-10cm across. It later flattens or has a shallow depression. [1]

Hymenophore Photo



Stipe Description

Stipe is 40-90 x 7-20mm, white, cylindrical, fragile. [1]



Spore Description

Spores are white to cream or yellowish. [1]

Flesh Description

Flesh has a distinct or odd smell. It can be granular or brittle, slimy or sticky.[1]

Other Information

Commonly confused with Lactarius indigo, the stem of both genera typically breaks very cleanly like a piece of chalk. Lactarius exude a milky latex substance when cut into their gills and Russula do not. Russula can be easily identified by the "drop-kick" method in which the mushroom should shatter into a million pieces if properly kicked. [2]

Distinguishing Characteristics:

  • Color and size of the cap (pileus): Red Cap and 3-10cm across
  • Color of the stem, including any changes in color between the bottom of the stem and the top: White stem
  • Exact color of the gills: White gills which are adnexed to free
  • Exact color of the spore print (ranges from pure white to cream to tan to almost yellow): White spore print
  • Whether or not the cap cuticle peels, and to what extent: The cap cuticle peels 1/3-3/4 of cap radius
  • Taste (acrid,mild, or bitter): Acrid to peppery hot taste [2]

Collection Location on GGC’s Campus

Found in the woods behind the baseball fields at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, GA.


All Russula species are mycorrhizal, which means they have a mutualistic association with the roots of trees, especially members of the oak family (Fagaceae) and pine family (Pinaceae). It's a common occurrence that Russulas can be found when it's very dry, and there aren't many other mushrooms around. [2]

Fruiting Season

Summer to late autumn.[1]

Historic Range

North Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. [1]

Map of Russula emetica.jpg


Cultural Information

Not Edible, poisonous.[1]

This page was created by Heather Humphrey and Jeff Ruby for GGC's Mycology Wikipedia assignment lab.


[1] http://www.rogersmushrooms.com/gallery/DisplayBlock~bid~6008.asp

[2] http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/sep2004.html

[3] http://www.commanster.eu/commanster/Mushrooms/Russula/Russulaceae2d.html

[4] http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-83508487/stock-photo-red-russula-mushrooms-russula-emetica.html

[5] http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Russula+emetica

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