Hygrophorus Milkcap (Lactifluus hygrophoroides)

21 August

This subtly beautiful Lactarius features a dull orange, finely velvety cap, widely spaced gills, and copious white milk. It is similar to Lactarius volemus, but the latter species has close gills and milk that stains everything it touches brown—not to mention a pronounced odor of fish. Lactarius hygrophoroides is mycorrhizal with oaks, and appears in summer from the Great Plains to Texas and northeastern North America.

Hesler and Smith (1979) described four varieties, based on odor and on staining of the gills due to the latex. However, Lalli and Pacioni (1992) studied the type collections of all hygrophoroides taxa and found that “they cannot be considered autonomous entities” and that “L. hygrophoroides should be regarded as a single entity, with some variability in smell, latex and context colour-change”.