Russula earlei could be mistaken for a hygrophorus (waxy cap mushroom). Cap is waxy to the touch, slightly tacky, granular, straw yellow to orangish-yellow. Cuticle does not easily peel. Distant, waxy, wet, broad creamy to yellow attached gills that spot rusty-brown. Stem also feels waxy and is white to yellowish discoloring to rusty-brown. Mycorrhizal with hardwoods, especially beech and oaks.