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Group of Fungi: Agarics
Latin Name: Russula compacta Frost
Common Name: Firm Russula
Description: Total height 1.5–3.5 in (3.5–9 cm); cap 1 1/4–6 in (3–15 cm) wide, convex at first but becoming flattened with a sunken center in age, dingy white to pale buff at first but soon turning yellow-orange and then rust brown in age, upper surface smooth to somewhat cracked in age, viscid when moist; gills close, white to pale yellow, staining brown when bruised; stalk 1–3 in (2.5–7.5 cm) long, 3/8–1 1/4 in (1–3 cm) in diameter, white or pale reddish brown, smooth; spores white in mass.
Biological Role: Forms mycorrhizal associations with forest trees.
Habitat: On the ground in broadleaf or conifer forests; usually solitary or occurring in small groups.
Geographical Distribution: Found throughout eastern North America.
Comments: Russula compacta is one of several members of the genus Russula likely to be encountered in the forests of eastern North America. It is usually possible to distinguish this species on the basis of the relatively large size of the fruiting bodies, their rather firm texture, the brown-staining reaction of the gills and the characteristic "fishy" odor, which becomes increasingly apparent in age. This fungus is not recommended for human consumption.