Common crumbler – The Common Yellow Russula


Recently from late summer to round about now (mid-autumn) this is the most (extremely) common mushroom I find on my trips out. Well, this and the Sulphur Tuft, which is as common as muck but a lot prettier!

The Common Yellow Russula or Common Yellow Brittlegill (Russula ochroleuca) is simply everywhere. Sometimes in small groups scattered across the woodland floor (all types of woodland) and sometimes simply on their own. What a popular fellow (no tree pun intended).

Young Common Yellow BrittlegillThe Russula family of fungi is simply huge, consisting of more than two hundred species. Their commonly used name is the Brittlegills. If you run your finger across it’s white, widely spaced gills with light pressure they will buckle and break very easily. In fact the whole mushroom structure is brittle, or for want of a better word ‘crumbly’. This genetic characteristic is a useful identification tip in recognising all Russulas (Please note that the Charcoal Burner is the exception to the rule with it’s gills being quite flexible and resistant).

With so many Russula mushrooms lying about, all with their own distinctive colourings, there are (you’ve guessed it) more yellow chappies out there to add to the confusion. Mushrooms don’t ever make thing easy do they!? The most common twin is the Yellow Swamp Brittlegill (Russula Claroflava) which is definitely more tasty than our common friend here. It has a brighter yellow coloured cap and is found only in moist, damp birch woodland. The spores are ochre coloured as opposed to the white/cream spore print of the common species.

As mentioned above, the Yellow Swamp Brittlegill is a better edible find but I have no good photos of it yet to show you – that’ll be for another day in the diary I think. But none the less, I did try our common friend here – and although not highly rated – I didn’t think it was that bad. It is a little bitter, but it can be nice and fleshy and would be quite good if added to a multi-mushroom dish with good seasoning. Give it a try.

One last tip before you take these mushrooms home is take a good smell test. Just in case you have a Geraneum Scented Brittlegill (Russula felea) on your case. It is very much unpleasant and bitter to eat. So, just as you wouldn’t geraniums – don’t eat mushrooms smelling of them. Good rule!

Common Yellow Brittlegill

Not often will you find a prisitine specimen. Russulas are fragile things, and most loved to be nibbled and munched!

  1. peyotejones

    Are there any really nasty yellow russulas? In fact are there any really nasty russulas at all?

    I live just by the Pyrenees and, like the natives, I’ve never bothered picking russulas at all, but I see so many yellow ones. It seems a shame – especially on leener days.

    November 17th, 2013 // Reply
    • J C Harris

      There are no deadly Russula’s, but the (Red) The Sickener (R.emetica) and the Beechwood Sickener (R.nobilis) are poisonous and will give you bad stomach upset. I know of no poisonous yellow Russulas, quite a few are inedible, bland or unpleasant and only a handful are edible. Try and found out exactly what species it is from any local experts.

      November 17th, 2013 // Reply
      • Derek

        Emetica is said to be poisonous only when raw but edible when cooked. Not tried it myself!

        August 6th, 2014 // Reply
  2. peyotejones

    Sorry, it’s my first time here and I forgot to mention… congratulations on a fantastic blog! I’ll be back for sure.

    November 17th, 2013 // Reply
    • J C Harris

      Thanks Peyote – sign up for new post updates if you like. You’ll get an email every time a new story appears. Thanks

      November 17th, 2013 // Reply

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