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The skin of the cap typically does not reach the margins (resulting in the common name). The cap is 5–10 cm wide,flat, convex, or with slightly depressed centre, weakly sticky, colour brownish to dark brick-red. Taste mild. Gills close apart, white. The stipe narrows toward the base, 2–7 cm long, 1.5–2.5 cm wide, white. It turns deep salmon when rubbed with iron salts (Ferrous sulfate).The spore print is white.
Russula vesca appears in summer or autumn, and grows primarily in deciduous forests in Europe, and North America.
Russula vesca is considered edible and good, with a mild nutty flavour. In Russia and Finland it is considered entirely edible even in the raw state.