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a genus of pileate fungi of the group of gill fungi. The fruiting body of most species is brittle. The cap is usually brightly colored, and the stem is white or pinkish. The absence of milky juice differentiates Russula from the closely related genus Lactarius. The mushrooms grow in coniferous and deciduous forests. Of the approximately 150 species, 80 occur in the USSR. All species are edible, but they are not particularly valuable, mainly owing to the brittleness of the flesh. The only valuable species is R. delica. Some species are not used in fresh form owing to their acrid taste, a taste that disappears upon steeping or boiling before pickling.