Photos: © Sharmin Gamiet
Steve Trudell
Lactarius deliciosus var. deliciosus
(Fr.) S.F. Grey

Pileus: 3.2 - 14 cm broad; convex at first then planar and finally depressed; margins inrolled when young, then straight, then uplifted and finally funnel shaped at maturity, fringed at first then naked when mature; surface usually moist to viscid but can be dry depending on the weather, normally glabrous, zonate with concentric darker rings; colours shades of orange, salmon to deep to dark orange often with green stains; context 6 mm at junction of stipe, fleshy and brittle, moist, colour yellow with some orange, bruising green; taste mild; odour distinct, ‘fruity’.

Latex: Mild to slightly bitter tasting, carrot orange slowly becoming yellow then green.

Lamellae: Horizontal at first then subdecurrent when mature; average to crowded, edges even, narrow, orange at first then green where bruised; 3 lamellulae.

Stipe: 3 - 5 cm long X 1.0 cm wide at apex, 0.6 cm wide at base; tapering downwards to equal; dry to moist, at times scrobiculate, brittle, unpolished, deep to dark orange; context solid at first then soon hollow, coloured as stipe surface.

Microcharacteristics: Spore print yellowish; spores 7 - 11 X 6 - 8 µm, ellipsoid, with amyloid and broken reticulum; no apparent macrocystidia.

Comments: This is a common species in moist nutrient rich sites in these forests. Its characteristic flesh and lamellae colour change from orange to green differentiates it from the other orange zonate Lactarius (L. olympianus) in these forests. L. olympianus has white gills and latex and does not change colour when injured. There are 4 recognized varieties of Lactarius deliciosus, separated by the colour of the flesh and lamellae on bruising and on the presence or absence of macrocystidia. L. deliciosus var. areolatus has no macrocystidia and the latex turns tissue reddish brown. L. deliciosus var. piceus has macrocystidia, flesh and lamellae that stain reddish brown, and is associated with Picea spp. L. deliciosus var. olivaceosordidus has macrocystidia, and has the flesh and lamellae that turn green upon injury. L. deliciosus var. deliciosus, the variety found in these forests, doesn’t have macrocystidia and the latex turns the flesh and lamellae green.

Further Reading:

Hesler, L.R. and A.H. Smith. 1979. North American species of Lactarius. Univ. Michigan Press. Ann Arbor, Mich. pp 841.

Methven, A.S. 1997. The Agaricales (gilled fungi) of California. 10. Russulaceae II. Lactarius. Mad River Press. Eureka Ca. pp 78.