Observation 30933: Lactarius californiensis Hesler & A.H. Sm.

When: 2009-12-25

Collection location: Mill Valley, California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)

No specimen available

I added a few photos of the same lacerations a few minutes apart to demonstrate the gradual colour change.

Proposed Names

-3% (7)
Recognized by sight
77% (2)
Recognized by sight: I think one thing we can all agree on is that this is a Lactarius

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Liquid drano
By: Eddee (eddeeee)
2009-12-27 21:13:47 EST (-0500)

Liquid drano works just as well as KOH Im not sure if your aware of that.

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2009-12-27 20:39:42 EST (-0500)

I don’t have any KOH, as crazy as that sounds. I will try and get some soon. But I dried these and am shopping for scopes right now… So eventually I will have some more info. I guess it is kind of silly to try and pin this down to species until then..

the plot thickens…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-12-27 12:08:05 EST (-0500)

do these or other specimens actually exist somewhere? If uvidus, the application of KOH should cause green staining on the cap and stalk.

The latest description of lactarius species in North America (“Milk Mushrooms of North America” by Bessette, Harris and Bessette) list uvidus var. montanus as occuring under pines in CA, ID and CO, but doesn’t restrict their range to the mountains per se.

Distinct species attributes for uvidus montanus include: a vinaceous cap, flesh that stains reddish brown, a resinous taste (!) and a dry stipe.

But are we just trying to fit square pegs in round holes here? Maybe we need new names for these things, and taking those European species for our California mushrooms is not a working strategy.

I also could not find a photo of californiensis, but did find a good description…there are a number of ways that you can tell the three species apart, but you must have the specimen in hand, chemicals and probably a microscope too. If we are down to just a photo, you prob. can’t make a good determination.

I did learn that there are actually three similar species that have latex that stains the flesh purple (who knew?), so good to know that we are all still working our way up the learning curve, even if we can’t come to an exact name each and every time…

Another Lactarius described from Europe
By: Anna Baykalova (anna_ru)
2009-12-27 09:01:36 EST (-0500)

This may be Lactarius luridus. Concentric watery spots on the cap and slowly bitter taste differ it from L. uvidus, which immediately bitter

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2009-12-26 23:51:23 EST (-0500)

Noah made me taste this mushroom this morning and it was bitter, but I wasn’t confident that I was perceiving the flavour accurately since I had just brushed my teeth (you know how orange juice tastes after you brush your teeth?), so I just tried it again, and this time I am sure- it is quite bitter, and only gets more intense and unpleasant as the minutes pass. I think it is finely starting to leave my palate… But yeah, mild for the first few chews, and then the bitterness becomes more pervasive, at which point I spit it out.

What about L. californiensis? The taste is supposed to be peppery, which these are not, but it is noted that Oregon collections may not be peppery… I can not find any photos, but the morphological description seems pretty close.

There is a description of L. californiensis here:

Okay folks, that is all I got on this tonight… Though I would like to add, I think L. pallescens is less likely than L. uvidus… I did not read the descriptions carefully enough last night when I was naming this.

By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2009-12-26 19:15:38 EST (-0500)

is the description from Hesler & Smith for L. pallescens. "when young milk-white, slowly becoming “pale vinaceous-fawn” to “light vinaceous-fawn” (a grayish vinaceous tint), becoming grayer on aging (but not as dark in age as L. uvidus), at times developing ochraceous to pale rusty stains on aging (especially around injured areas)."

and “This species is well characterized by the milkwhite color overall when young, the very slimy pileus and stipe, the slowly and slightly but distinctly acrid taste of the context”

That does not match this mushroom, the description of L. uvidus var. uvidus is a lot closer but I don’t think that it is the same thing as the east coast one or that ours is the same as the European one but do believe that we would be better off calling it uvidus at the moment.

Probably L. pallescens
By: ekingersoll
2009-12-26 18:45:55 EST (-0500)

According to the CA Lactarius monograph, L. uvidus var. uvidus does not occur in the western US, L. uvidus v. montanus is uncommon but occurs in montane CA and L. pallescens is common. Since appearance is similar, the distribution makes me think is is probably L. pallescens.

latex color changes and staining are identical for these two species…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-12-26 16:10:51 EST (-0500)

it’s down to the cap color now.

pallescens is, well, more pale. I agree with Noah and uvidus.

Created: 2009-12-26 03:19:55 EST (-0500)
Last modified: 2013-02-21 00:56:22 EST (-0500)
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