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Russula vinacea


Russula vinacea, I'm pretty sure, but Russulas, although easy to identify at the genus level, are difficult at the species level. The Mushroom Expert has a long and interesting article on The Genus Russula. And the specimens photographed here fit his description of R. vinacea. I found these growing in the uplands with Shagbark Hickory and White Oak. I saw my first of these this year on May 7. Often you will find them shattered and scattered about in bits and pieces. In his inestimable Mushrooms Demystified, David Arora advises us "to resist the sharp temptation to mash, maim, and mutilate them" (p. 84). I don't destroy them. (I'm not seven years old after all.) But I wonder if their frangible nature is part of their spore-dispersal strategy. Many mushrooms eject their spores in various ways. Might the Russula's tendency to shatter be a variation on this design?