I would say that at the moment, and for much of the autumn, brittlegills of quite a few species are by far the most visible mushrooms in the forests of the Loire Valley. Brittlegills all have white gills which in most species will shatter if you scrape them. The tops are smooth and usually reddish. Most are not strictly toxic but they are so bitter they aren't edible. There are many lookalike species. Here is a selection of some of them.
|Humpback Brittlegill Russula caerulea (Fr. Russule mamelonée). Syn R. amara. Bitter but not toxic, found under pines, and always has a central 'nipple' on the cap.|
|Charcoal Burner Russula cyanoxantha (Fr. Russule charbonnière), the one species whose gills bend rather than shatter when you scrape them. It is the only brittlegill considered to be good eating.
|Russula lepidicolor (Fr. Russule fausse-aurore). One of the species with a pink cap and a blushing stem.|
|Beechwood Sickener Russula mairei (Fr. Russule émétique compacte). Syn. R. nobilis. The cap is scarlet rather than pink. Very bitter.|
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