Mushroom Hunt: Rufous Milk Cap.

From Charly, who notes: A very common mushroom here and inedible one. There are a few species of the Lactarius genus around here, most inedible. But some years there is enough of Lactarius deliciosus – saffron milk cap, edible and very tasty – to be worth collecting. This time I only met the rufous.

A fun anecdote – I never collected milk caps, but I showed one of my friends in high school once how to recognize the L. deliciosus from the other common inedible species growing around here (it has orange milk and turns to green on bruised areas, whereas others have white milk), and his whole family started to collect them en masse in consequent years and they liked them very much. I did not even remember showing him until he thanked me a few years later. To my horror, because I am sure I never recommended anyone to actually collect mushrooms I do not have personal experience with. To trust a teenager who was just showing off with a trick learned from an atlas on mushrooms is not wise. But they are all still living 25 years later. Latin: Lactarius rufus. Click for full size!

© Charly, all rights reserved.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    Here in Finland, the genus Lactarius (In Finnish Rouskut, singular rousku) is considered edible, apart from Lactarius helvus and Lactarius turpis, but you have to boil most of them to get the bad taste out. The Finnish Food Safety Authority, Evira, recommends Lactarius trivialis, Lactarius rufus, Lactarius torminosus, Lactarius deterrimus and Lactarius deliciosus for consumption and sale. I’ve mostly eaten them as salted mushrooms or mushroom salad. I don’t find them all that delicious.

    Of course the geographical location may also affect edibility.

  2. says

    It might not be just geographical location, but also culture. If a mushroom requires specific form of preparation to be safe for consumption or getting rid of nasty taste -- like prolonged boiling in salted water etc. -- it might be considered edible only in a culture familiar with such preparation.

    There is one mushroom around here, Chalciporus piperatus, which is in some atlases also named as inedible due to strong peppery taste. However I rejoice when I find it, because it is not poisonous and in small amounts serves as an excellent spice in scrambled mushrooms. Alas I did not find it this time so I had to be satisfied with ordinary pepper.

  3. kestrel says

    Another lovely genus… I’ve collected and eaten Lactarius deliciosus and really enjoy it. According to my key, L. torminosus is roasted and and added to coffee in Norway! That must be interesting…

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