Russula Pers.

The genus Russula Pers. has a worldwide distribution and can be easily identified with its colourful fruiting bodies (Kirk et al. 2008). Russula is widely distributed from Western Europe to North America in the northern hemisphere (Romagnesi 1967; Singer 1986; Sarnari 1998; Miller and Buyck 2002; Bau et al. 2008). The genus contains more than 200 species generally accepted in Europe (Sarnari 1998, 2005) and more than 750 species worldwide (Kirk et al. 2008). Keys to Russula being complex since of this huge taxonomic diversity. They play a crucial beneficial role in forest ecosystems as ectomycorrhizal symbionts (Li et al. 2013a). Russula species were used as traditional food and medicine in China for a long history. Twenty-two medicinal species and 82 edible species have been reported in China (Dai et al. 2009; Li et al. 2010a). Southwestern China represents one of the world’s biodiversity “hotspots” and has a high diversity of macro-fungi (Yuan and Dai 2008), but only a few russulacean species have been identified from this region. However, some new species and varieties have been reported from Southern and Southwestern China (Wang et al. 2009).