Name: Lactarius fragilis var. rubidus
Author: Hesler & A.H. Sm.
Citation: North American Species of Lactarius (Ann Arbor): 505 (1979)
Preferred Synonyms:Lactarius rubidus (Hesler & A.H. Sm.) Methven
Misspellings: Lactarius fragilus var. rubidus
Candy caps are small to medium-size mushrooms, with a pileus that is typically about 5 cm or less, and with coloration ranging through various burnt orange to burnt orange-red to orange-brown shades, but most typically a “ferruginous” tone in the deep orange-red range. The pileus shape ranges from broadly convex in young specimens to plane to slightly depressed in older ones; lamellae are attached to subdecurrent. The entire fruiting body is quite fragile and brittle and the stipe is hollow. Like all members of Lactarius, the fruiting body exudes a latex when broken, which in this species is whitish and watery in appearance, and is often compared to whey or nonfat milk. The latex may have little flavor or may be slightly sweet, but should never taste bitter or acrid. These species are particularly distinguishable by their scent, which has been variously compared to maple syrup, camphor, curry, fenugreek, burnt sugar, Malt-O-Meal, or Maggi-Würze. This scent may be quite faint in fresh specimens, but typically becomes quite strong when the fruiting body is dried.
Microscopically, they share features typical of Lactarius, including round to slightly ovular spores with distinct amyloid ornamentation and sphaerocysts that are abundant in the pileus and stipe trama, but infrequent in the lamellar trama123.
From Darvin DeShazer:
The western candy cap is correctly called Lactarius fragilis var. rubidus. I just published an article in Biochemical Systematics and Ecology on the chemistry of the maple syrup odor and had to search out the real accepted name. The name Lactarius rubidus and that name was NEVER published. Andy Methuven was suppose to publish it in 1998 and it never happened.