This section is from the book "Our Edible Toadstools and Mushrooms and How to Distinguish Them", by W. Hamilton Gibson. Also available from Amazon: Our Edible Toadstools And Mushrooms And How To Distinguish Them.
Our first species, the green Russula, is to be found throughout the summer in hard-wood groves, and is apt to frequent the same immediate locality from year to year. I know one such veritable mushroom bed in the woods near by, where I am almost certain of my mess of Russulae almost any day in their season. This species is shown in its various stages of development and also in section in Plate 11. Its substance is firm and solid creamy white. The pileus, at first almost hemispherical, as it pushes its way through the earth, at length becomes convex, with a slight hollow at the centre, and later ascends in a gentle slope from centre to rim. Its color is sage green, or mouldy green, usually quite unbroken in tint at centre, but more or less disconnected into spots as it approaches the circumference by the gradual expansion of the cap, the creamy undertint appearing like network between the separated patches of color. The substance of the cap becomes gradually thinned towards the circumference, where the mere cuticle connects the gills, the position of these gills being observable from above in a faint fluting of the edge, a peculiarity of all the Russulae. The cuticle peels readily some distance from the edge, leaving the projecting tips of the gills exposed in a row of comblike teeth, but usually adheres towards the centre of cap. The gills, with rare exceptions, are all of the same length, white or creamy in color, firm and thick, but very brittle, easily broken into fragments by a rude touch, a characteristic of all the group; spores, white. The stem is short, stout, and solid, and usually tapers towards the base. There is no vestige of a cup or veil at any stage of growth.
Russula Virescens (Showing mottled cap of occasional specimen, and variations in gills, i even; 2 forked; 3 dimidiate.)
A fine specimen of the green Russula should measure five inches in diameter when fully open, but three inches is probably the average size.
When once acquainted with the above as a type of the Russula group, noting the firm substance, straight, equal gills, and their brittle texture; the sweet, nutty flavor common to all the edible species, these become readily identified, the noxious Russulae, as in the brilliant pink or scarlet Russula emetica (Plate 13), being acrid and peppery to the taste.
In an auspicious season and in a congenial habitat - usually an open wood with scant undergrowth and preferably raked clean of dead leaves - the green Russula is often abundant. Familiarity even with this one species will often afford a sufficiency of fungus food during its season. A lady amateur mycophagist of the writer's acquaintance, whose home is located at the border of such a wood as is above described, and who is especially fond of the green Russula, is never at a loss for this especially prized tidbit as a reward for her daily stroll among the trees. A visitor may often see upon her buffet a small glass dish filled with the mushrooms, nicely scraped and cut in pieces - an ever-present relish between meals. For even in their natural state, as she discriminatingly says, they are "as sweet as chestnuts." This is especially the case with the "buttons" or younger specimens.
The noxious Russulae. Green Russula often sufficient Russula virescens
Pileus: Very firm; solid, dull, dry-surfaced, as with a fine "flock"; mouldy green or creamy, with sage-greenish broken spots more united at centre; occasionally entirely green, with warty patches of darker hue. At first globular, then convex with flat top, at length expanded and hollowed towards centre.
Gills: Pale, creamy white; commonly all of equal length, but frequently unequal and forked; very brittle, breaking in pieces at a rude touch.
Stem: Solid; creamy white; no veil.
Taste: Very mild, sweet, and nut-like.
Habitat: In woods - July-September.
Diameter of pileus, ideal specimen, four inches.
Plate XI. Russula Vlrescens.