Russula densifolia Secr. ex Gillet (1876)                   *Collections: California

Navigating through  the taxonomy of the species in Section Acrifolia (Romagn.) of Subgenus Compactae is not easy. Whether what we have locally is truly R. densifolia, as described from Europe is an outstanding question. But since this name is broadly accepted in our area then this is the species that best corresponds to that concept. The densifolia concept is based on (1) narrow gills (2) very slowly reddening, but never fully red, rather pinkish  (the species in the picture were left for 10 minutes before the picture was taken) and (3) then blackening. The taste of densifolia seems a variable characteristic, described differently by each author -- suffice to say that in my experience it varies between mild to slightly pungent, or barely acrid. The odor is mildish to unpleasant. Locally, R. densifolia tends to show up in mixed stands, but the hardwood component seems to be important. 

Spores: fine ornamentation, barely seen with a light microscope