Russula cyanoxantha

The charcoal burner, Russula cyanoxantha (Schaeff.) Fr.


Agaricus cyanoxanthus Schaeff.
  Fung. Bavar. Palat. 4:40 (1774)
Russula cutefracta Cooke
  Grevillea 10(no. 54):46 (1881)
Russula cyanoxantha f. cutefracta (Cooke) Sarnari
  Bollettino dell’Associazione Micologica ed Ecologica Romana 10(no. 28):35 (1993)
Russula cyanoxantha f. pallida Singer
  Z. Pilzk. 2(1):4 (1923)
Russula cyanoxantha f. peltereaui Singer
  Z. Pilzk.:15 (1925)
Russula cyanoxantha var. cutefracta (Cooke) Sarnari
  Bollettino dell’Associazione Micologica ed Ecologica Romana 9(no. 27):38 (1992)
Russula furcata sensu auct.
  fide Checklist of Basidiomycota of Great Britain and Ireland (2005)

Common names

Charcoal burner
Parrot russula
Blue and yellow russula
Charbonnière (French)
Frauentäubling (German)


Cap: 5-15 cm diameter; at first globose, later convex, then plane, umbilicate, finally depressed with an incurved, wavy margin. Cap surface is partially separable from the flesh; smooth, moist and slimy in humid weather, often grayish-purple, but the color can be rather variable, including dark violet purple, dark olive
Gills: adnexed to slightly decurrent, thick, appearing oily.
Stem: 5-10 cm high, 1.5-2.5 cm diameter, white, sometimes wrinkled, sometimes tinted pink or lilac.
Flesh: white, purple, or reddish under the skin of the cap.
Taste: mild.
Odor: farinaceous (see Pinho et al., 2008, for an analysis of the volatile components of this species).
Spore print: white.
Spores: 7.5-8.5 x 6-7.5 µm, white, ellipsoid, warted.
Habitat: mycorrhizhal, found on the ground in both deciduous and coniferous forests. Common and abundant.
Edibility: edible and good.

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Bioactive compounds

Gao et al., (2001) have isolated and identified a number of compounds from the ethanol and chloroform/methanol extracts of R. cyanoxantha:

  • 5α,8α-epidioxy(22E,24R)-ergosta-6,22-dien-3β-ol
  • 5α,8α-epidioxy-(24S)-ergosta-6-en-3β-ol
  • (24S)-ergosta-7-ene-3β,5α,6β-triol
  • (22E,24R)-ergosta-7,22-dien-3β,5α,6β-triol
  • inosine
  • adenine
  • L-pyroglutamic acid
  • fumaric acid
  • D-allitol
  • (2S,3S,4R,2’R)-2- (2′-hydroxytetracosanoylamino) octadecane- 1,3,4-triol

The last compound is a previously unknown ceramide. Another novel compound, the amino acid L-2-amino-7-hydroxyoctanoic acid, was found in this species. Additionally, the phenolic secondary metabolite p-hydroxybenzoic acid was found in R. cyanoxantha (Ribiero et al., 2006).

Medicinal properties

Antitumor effects

Polysaccharides extracted from the mycelial culture of R. cyanoxantha and administered intraperitoneally into white mice at a dosage of 300 mg/kg inhibited the growth of Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich solid cancers by 70% and 60%, respectively (Ohtsuka et al., 1973).

Antioxidant activity/FRSA

R. cyanoxantha showed a low free radical scavenging ability in the DPPH assay of antioxidant activity (>5% at 150 µg/ml)  (Ribiero et al., 2006).



Aoyagi Y, Nakamura N, Sugahara, T.
L-2-amino-7-hydroxyoctanoic acid: an amino acid from Russula cyanoxantha.
Phytochem. 1988. 27(10):3305-6.

Beeken L.
Russula cyanoxantha (Schaeff.) Fr., Fagus sylvatica L.
Descr Ectomyc. 2001 5:131-7.

Gao JM, Dong ZJ, Liu JK.
Constituents of Basidiomycetes Russula cyanoxantha.
Acta Bot. Yunnanica. 2000 22:85–89.

Gao JM, Dong ZL, Liu JK.
A new ceramide from the basidiomycete Russula cyanoxantha.
Lipids. 2001 36(2):175-80

Liu JK.
Biologically active substances from mushrooms in Yunnan, China
Heterocycles. 2002 57(1):157-67.

Ohtsuka S, Ueno S, Yoshikumi C, Hirose F, Ohmura Y, Wada T, Fujii T, Takahashi E.
Polysaccharides having an anticarcinogenic effect and a method of producing them from species of Basidiomycetes.
UK Patent 1331513, 26 September 1973.

Pinho PG, Ribeiro B, Goncalves RF, Baptista P, Valentao P, Seabra RM, Andrade PB.
Correlation between the pattern volatiles and the overall aroma of wild edible mushrooms.
J Agric Food Chem. 2008 56(5):1704-12.

Ribeiro B, Rangel J, Valentao P, Baptista P, Seabra RM, Andrade PB.
Contents of carboxylic acids and two phenolics and antioxidant activity of dried Portuguese wild edible mushrooms
J Agric Food Chem. 2006 54(22):8530-7.

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