What You Should Know
Lactarius volemus is a type of edible mushroom with a cap that is fawn to reddish-brown in color, and has a central depression and white to cream-colored close gills. The mushroom produces a plentiful white latex that turns everything it touches brown, and all parts of the mushroom flesh bruise and stain brown.
It also has a fishy scent and slightly granular texture that some people may find unappetizing. The scent goes away when cooked, and the latex has a mild taste. Pan-frying is not recommended because the mushroom produces a lot of sticky latex. Instead, it is suggested to place the mushroom on an oven plate, sprinkle it with salt, and fry until most of the milk has evaporated.
Lactarius volemus contains a unique sterol molecule called volemolide, which is derived from ergosterol. This molecule may be useful in identifying different types of fungi. Additionally, the fruit bodies of L. volemus can be used to produce rubber.
Other names: Tawny milkcap, Voluminous-latex milky, Weeping milkcap, Apricot milkcap, Fishy milkcap, Bradley, German (Brätling, Milchbrätling, Birnenmilchling, Süßling), Netherlands (Vissige melkzwam).
Lactarius volemus Mushroom Identification
1.18 to 5.91 inches (3 to 15 cm) in wide; at first convex with an inrolled margin; becoming flat, with a central depression, shallowly vase-shaped, or (rarely) with a slight bump over the disc, the margin even; smooth or slightly wrinkled, but usually finely velvety to the touch, at least when young; brownish orange, orangish brown, or sometimes lighter - or sometimes darker (approaching deep brownish red); without concentric zones of color, but often darker towards the center.
The creamy white gills of the mushroom are attached to the stem or run down it slightly, and they may turn brown where they are injured. The gills are close together and sometimes fork near the edge.
1.97 to 3.94 inches (5 to 10 cm) long; 0.20 to 0.98 inches (0.5 to 2.5 cm) thick; colored like the cap or paler; equal or tapering to base; smooth; sometimes vaguely "ribbed" longitudinally; solid or becoming hollowing.
The flesh is white, staining slowly brown when sliced.
White; copious; sometimes becoming brownish on exposure to air; staining tissues brown; staining white paper brown.
Odor and Taste
Odor rather fishy (like a dead shad, which anglers will tell you is probably the most malodorous freshwater fish). The taste is mild.
Lactarius volemus grows near the base of both coniferous and broad-leaved trees, with a greater prevalence in deciduous woods and sometimes in peat moss beds. Its fruit bodies can appear alone or in groups during warm and humid weather between summer and autumn. Limoniid flies and fungi-dwelling mites can inhabit these fruit bodies, with the flies acting as hosts for the mites through a symbiotic association called phoresis. It is widely distributed in warm temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions, including Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East.
Spores 6.5-9.5 x 5.5-9 µ; subglobose or occasionally broadly ellipsoid; ornamentation 0.4-0.8 µ high, as widely spaced amyloid ridges forming completed reticula. Pleuromacrocystidia conspicuous and abundant; subcylindric to subfusiform; thick-walled; arising in the subhymenium or gill trama; to 150 x 15 µ. Cheilocystidia similar but shorter. Pileipellis a lamprotrichoderm with a turf of cylindric to narrowly fusiform pileocystidia measuring up to about 100 x 5 µ.
Lactarius volemus Look-Alikes
Differs in the color of the cap which is fawn-bright orange, the more spaced gills, the growth in Mediterranean zone under Quercus, the absence of macrocystidia, the oblong spores, and the reaction of the flesh to the pink with the ferrous sulphate.
Has more surface wrinkles, darker gills, weaker or absent scent, and less orange coloration; however, intermediate color forms can be found.
Has more crowded gills.
Differs in having widely spaced gills, and spores that lack surface reticulations.
Can be identified by its cinnamon-brown spore print.
Differs in lacks the fishy odor, has a dull yellow-orange to bright golden orange cap, narrow gills, and a white latex that does not change color.
Lactarius volemus Taxonomy and Etymology
Lactifluus volemus is a species of mushroom that was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 as Agaricus lactifluus. In 1821, Elias Magnus Fries renamed it to Agaricus volemus and proposed a new grouping of related species within the genus Agaricus called Galorrheus. Fries later recognized Lactarius as a distinct genus in 1838 and cited Galorrheus as a synonym.
In 1871, Paul Kummer raised Fries's tribes to generic rank and renamed the species Galorrheus volemus. Charles Horton Peck identified the variety L. volemus var. subrugosus in 1879, but it is now classified as a separate species, L. corrugis. In 1891, Otto Kuntze moved the species to Lactifluus, which was later confirmed as a separate genus through molecular phylogenetics in 2008.
The specific epithet "volemus" comes from the Latin word "vola," which means "the hollow of the hand." This refers to the large amount of latex that flows from the mushroom, which is said to be enough to fill the hand.
Lactarius volemus Synonyms and Varietes
Agaricus dycmogalus Bulliard (1793), Herbier de la France, 13, tab. 584
Agaricus ichoratus Batsch 1786
Agaricus lactifluus fulvens Secretan (1833), Mycographie Suisse, 1, p. 450
Agaricus oedematopus Scop. 1772
Agaricus ruber Persoon (1801), Synopsis methodica fungorum, p. 433
Agaricus testaceus Persoon (1801), Synopsis methodica fungorum, p. 431
Agaricus volemus Fries (1821), Systema mycologicum, 1, p. 69 Sanctionnement : Fries (1821)
Amanita lactiflua (Linnaeus) Lamarck (1783), Encyclopédie méthodique, Botanique, 1, p. 104
Galorrheus ichoratus (Batsch) P. Kumm. 1871
Galorrheus volemus (Fries) Fries (1827) [1825-26], Stirpes agri femsionensis, 3, p. 57
Hypophyllum lactifluum Paulet (1808) , Traité des champignons, 2, p. 185, tab. 80, fig. 1-3
Lactarius ichoratus (Batsch) Fr. 1838
Lactarius lactifluus (L.) Quél. 1886
Lactarius oedematopus (Scop.) Mussat 1901
Lactarius ruber (Persoon) Gray (1821), A natural arrangement of British plants, 1, p. 624
Lactarius testaceus (Pers.) Guég. 1908
Lactarius volemus (Fries) Fries (1838) [1836-38], Epicrisis systematis mycologici, p. 344
Lactarius volemus var. euvolemus Maire (1937), Mémoires de la Société des sciences naturelles du Maroc, 45, p. 89
Lactifluus ichoratus (Batsch) Kuntze 1891
Lactifluus oedematopus (Scop.) Kuntze 1891
Lactifluus volemus (Fr.) Kuntze 1891
Lactarius volemus Video
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