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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

16 September, 2016

Russula caerulea: the humpback brittlegill

I am always nervous when I start to research and learn about new fungi prior to writing my nature note to summarise what I have found out. Why? Because true fungus identification means picking a specimen, turning it up side down to look at the underside, smelling it, possibly even tasting it, may be pulling it apart. I just cannot do that, I feel it has a right to its own life and I should leave it where it is. It is a personal thing I would certainly not criticise anyone for examining a specimen really closely, especially in the name of science.
So, with some trepidation I name this species the humpback brittlegill (Russula caerulea) and now await someone telling me its not! The russulas are very difficult to identify without the close examination I described above but most species of the family have a dimple in the top of the cap whilst the humpback has a small hump on its back! It is found in pine forests in late summer and early autumn so that fits with where and when I took this photograph.
It has a bitter taste so not one for the frying pan.
Russula caerulea: the humpback brittlegill