What You Should Know
Lactarius pallidus is an edible mushroom of the genus Lactarius. It is pale in color and found on the floor in beech or birch woodland. Its smooth cap features a particularly thick layer of flesh and often has an incurved margin.
Though generally considered edible, it is not recommended to be eaten raw. It is common in Europe, and less common in North America and Australasia.
Lactarius pallidus is typically found growing mycorrhizally under beech, but can also be found under birch. It is typically half-buried among leaf litter. It can sometimes be found in large groups and occurs throughout summer and autumn. It can be found commonly in Europe but is much rarer in North America. It can also be found in Australia.
Other names: Pale Milkcap.
Lactarius pallidus Mushroom Identification
4 to 10cm in diameter, convex and then depressed, the cap is pale buff with a rosy, flesh-colored tint, sometimes with indistinct circular zoning near the rim.
The surface of the cap is smooth; it is slimy in wet weather and usually remains sticky but with a glossy shine during dry spells.
Shortly decurrent and fairly crowded, the gills are pale rosy buff or pale ochre and occasionally, but not always, blotchy. This milkcap releases copious amounts of white latex that is usually, but not always, quite a mild-tasting.
Very variable in diameter from 1 to 2.5cm, and 3 to 8cm long, the stem is more or less cylindrical or tapering in slightly at the base. The stem surface is smooth and paler than the cap; it tends to become hollow with age.
Broadly ellipsoidal, 7.5-8.5 x 6-6.5µm; ornamented with ridges and a few cross-connections that sometimes form a partial reticulum.
Odor and Taste
Slight fruity smell; the milk (latex) usually has a mild taste but not always: occasionally Pale Milkcaps are found which taste very hot.
Habitat & Ecological Role
Mycorrhizal; in deciduous woodland, mainly under beech trees. Although an infrequent find, where the Pale Milkcap does occur it is often in sizeable groups.
Lactarius musteus is a similar but much rarer milkcap; its stem is pitted, it leaves a pale cream spore print, and it occurs under pine trees, and less common in North America and Australasia.
Lactarius pallidus Taxonomy and Etymology
This mushroom was described scientifically in 1797 by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon, who gave it the binomial name Lactarius pallidis by which mycologists still refer to it today.
Synonyms of Lactarius pallidus include Agaricus lactifluus var. pallidus (Pers.) Pers., and Agaricus pallidus (Pers.) Fr.
The generic name Lactarius means producing milk (lactating) - a reference to the milky latex that is exuded from the gills of milkcap fungi when they are cut or torn.
The specific epithet pallidus is a Latin adjective meaning pallid.
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