This section is from the book "Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc.", by George Francis Atkinson. Also available from Amazon: Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc..
This is a common and widely distributed species, from small to medium size. The plants are 5-8 cm. high, the cap 5-10 cm. broad, and the stem 1-1.5 cm. in thickness. It grows in woods and groves during late summer and autumn. The pileus is fleshy, of medium thickness, convex and depressed in the center from the young condition, and as the pileus expands the margin becomes more and more upturned and the depression deeper, so that eventually it is more or less broadly funnel-form. The color varies from white to flesh color, tinged with yellow sometimes in spots, and marked usually with faint zones of brighter yellow. The zones are sometimes very indistinct or entirely wanting. The gills are crowded, white then yellow, where bruised becoming yellowish, then dull reddish. The stem is equal or tapering below, hollow or stuffed, paler than the pileus, smooth (sometimes pitted as shown in the Fig. 125).
Lactarius chrysorrheus. Cap white or flesh color, often tinged with yellowish, and with darker zones (natural size). Copyright.
The plant is acrid to the taste, the milk white changing to citron yellow on exposure. Figure 125 is from plants (No. 3875, C. U. herbarium) collected in the Blue Ridge Mountains at Blowing Rock, N. C, September, 1899. The species was quite abundant in this locality during August and September, in chestnut groves, mixed woods, and borders of woods.
Lactarius deliciosus (L.) Fr. Edible. - Lactarius deliciosus grows in damp woods, is widely distributed and sometimes is quite common. It occurs from July to October. It is one of the medium or large sized species, being 3-10 cm. high, the cap 5-12 cm. broad, and the stem 1-2 cm. in thickness. It is easily recognized by its orange color and the concentric zones of light and dark orange around on the pileus, and by the orange milk which is exuded where wounded.
The pileus is first convex, then slightly depressed in the center, becoming more expanded, and finally more or less funnel-shaped by the elevation of the margin. It is usually more or less orange in color or mottled with varying shades, and with concentric bands of a deeper color. The gills are yellowish orange often with darker spots. The stem is of the same color as the pileus but paler, sometimes with darker spots. The flesh of the plant is white, shaded with orange. In old plants the color fades out somewhat and becomes unevenly tinged with green, and bruised places become green. Peck states that when fresh the plant often has a slight acrid taste.
Being a widely distributed and not uncommon plant, and one so readily recognized, it has long been known in the old world as well as here. All writers on these subjects concur in recommending it for food, some pronouncing it excellent, some the most delicious known. Its name suggests the estimation in which it was held when christened.
Lactarius chelidonium Pk. Edible. - This pretty little Lactarius was described by Peck in the 24th Report, N. Y. State Mus., p. 74. It is closely allied to Lactarius deliciosus, from which it is said to differ in its "more narrow lamellae, differently colored milk, smaller spores." The plant is about 5 cm. high, the cap about 5 cm. broad, and the stem 1-1.5 cm. in thickness.
The pileus is fleshy, firm, convex and depressed in the center, smooth, slightly viscid when moist, "of a grayish green color with blue and yellow tints, and a few narrow zones on the margin." The gills are crowded, narrow, some of them forked at the base, and sometimes joining to form reticulations. The spores are yellowish. The short stem is nearly equal, smooth, hollow, and the same color as the pileus.
The taste is mild, the milk not abundant, and of a yellowish color, "resembling the juice of Celandine or the liquid secreted from the mouth of grasshoppers." Wounds on the plant are first of the color of the milk, changing on exposure to blue, and finally to green. The plant occurs during late summer and in the autumn in woods. Peck reported it first from Saratoga, N. Y. It has been found elsewhere in the State, and it has probably quite a wide distribution. I found it during September, 1899, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of N. C. Figure 1, plate 39, is from some of the water color drawings made by Mr. Franklin R. Rathbun.
Plate 39. Fig. 1. - Lactarius deliciosus. Fig. 2. - L. chelidonium. Fig. 3. - L. indigo. Copyright 1900.
Lactarius indigo (Schw.) Fr. - The indigo blue lactarius is a very striking and easily recognized plant because of the rich indigo blue color so predominant in the entire plant. It is not very abundant, but is widely distributed in North America. The plant is 5-7 cm. high, the cap 5-12 cm. broad, and the stem is 1-2 cm. in thickness. The plants occur during late summer and in the autumn.
The pileus when young is umbilicate, the margin involute, and in age the margin becomes elevated and then the pileus is more or less funnel-shaped. The indigo blue color is deeply seated, and the surface of the pileus has a silvery gray appearance through which the indigo blue color is seen. The surface is marked by concentric zones of a darker shade. In age the color is apt to be less uniformly distributed, it is paler, and the zones are fainter. The gills are crowded, and when bruised, or in age, the indigo blue color changes somewhat to greenish. The milk is dark blue.