Charcoal burner, nice to eat you

1 Aug


Started out looking for some new Black Trumpet areas though it quickly became perfectly clear this was the night of the Charcoal burner (Russula cyanoxantha).


Rolling along, the German Association of Mycology’s 1997 mushroom of the year, yes the Charcoal burner is a very popular mushroom in most of Europe and appears in markets there.


Often you will see some like this from a distance and as you approach look for humps under the leaves, usually there will be many small fresh mushrooms around. Slugs and other insects love these mushrooms so you will only be able to gather one good one for every 5 or so you find.


Again you only see one though there are many under the leaves here, walk gently.


Here in Canada very few people are gathering Charcoal burner for food as this one is tricky to identify until you have it verified by a mycologist or expert, which took me 30 plus years to finally have this occur. Once you get your verification then the field characteristics need to be studied to nail things down as the Charcoal burner is quite different from the many other Russulas you are liable to meet up with.  These mushrooms tonight where growing near beech, poplar and eastern white pine trees and there were 3 other russula varieties also here though there was no close look alike.  This large red colored Russula in the center of the Charcoal burners I can’t  identify though you will find 10s of Russula varieties ranging in shades between these 2, so initially you will need expert help.


Some of the characteristics I find helpful to know after verification are the way the cap peels back, texture of the cap, gills do not break to the touch as most other Russulas do, the multi colors, near beech trees, size, center of cap is indented, gills have some forking , faint red under peeled cuticle. In the photo above we see mostly the  Charcoal burner with Banana boletes and a few yellowfoot chanterelles on the left. ciao


4 Responses to “Charcoal burner, nice to eat you”

  1. Jay August 1, 2013 at 1:38 am #

    thats some number of different mushroom in your area!

    • 1left August 1, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

      J from late July till December we usually see a steady stream of mushroom varieties come and go unless we are hit by a prolonged dry spell. Here we have both temperate hardwood and boreal mixed and conifer forest on a variety of soils so you don’t have to walk far to pass through many tree and understory changes. Weekend mushroom forays around Oct will usually gather around 100 different fall mushroom species with 3 small groups walking around 4 or 5 miles each. New species to the accumulated list are commonly added each year.

  2. TheForagingPhotographer August 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    I’ve been seeing quite a few of these in the UK lately. Russulas are almost always fly-ridden though, unfortunately.

    • 1left August 1, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

      Same here TFP, Russula and Boletus are like insect high rise apartments during the summer, you have to examine a lot to find a few unclaimed vacant ones.

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