This section is from the book "Our Edible Toadstools and Mushrooms and How to Distinguish Them", by W. Hamilton Gibson. Also available from Amazon: Our Edible Toadstools And Mushrooms And How To Distinguish Them.
Pileus: Diameter three to five inches. Color varying from yellow to dull orange, or even brownish yellow with mottled zones of deeper color, especially in younger plants; outline at first convex, ultimately somewhat funnel-shaped; surface usually smooth and moist.
Flesh: Brittle; creamy, more or less stained with orange.
Gills: Orange; generally clearer in hue than the pileus; when bruised, exuding a copious milky juice of orange color, becoming greenish in drying.
Stem: Paler than pileus; hollow; occasionally spotted with orange or greenish stains from bruises.
Taste: Slightly peppery.
Habitat: Woods, pine-groves, and swamps.
Plate XVIII. Lactarius Deliciosus.
Prominent among the fungi which give unmistakable characters for their identification is the genus Lactarius, or milky mushrooms, another group of the agarics or gilled fungi, from which we will select for our first example the Lactarius delici-ostts, or orange-milk Agaric (Plate 18). The figure will itself almost serve to identify it in its advanced open stage. Having found a specimen resembling our illustration, and anywhere from three to five inches in expanse, its general upper surface dull reddish-orange in color, more or less plainly banded with darker red, it is safe to predict that when its surface or gills are broken an exudation of milky juice will follow. If this exudation is orange or deep yellow in hue, gradually turning greenish on exposure, the identification Orange- milk Agaric is complete, and we have the orange-milk Lactarius delicio-sus, of which an authority says, "It really deserves its name, being the most delicious mushroom known." W. G. Smith goes still further in its praise, assuring us that "when cooked with taste and care it is one of the greatest delicacies of the vegetable kingdom." The taste of this species when raw is slightly acrid, but this quality disappears in the cooking.
One other species of Lactarius, Lactarius volemum, may properly find a place in this work as being easily recognized. In general shape it resembles Lactarius deliciosus. The top is of a rich sienna golden hue; the gills are crowded. The milk is white as it first falls from the fracture, becoming dull dark-reddish, and having a mild, pleasant taste; gills white, at length yellowish or buff-colored. This species is esculent.
Other species are accounted edible, even one - the peppery Lactarius, Lactarius piperatus - a pure-white variety, whose copious exudations of white milk will almost blister the lips, an acrid property which is claimed by Curtis, Smith, and others to be dispelled in cooking, by which treatment it becomes delicious and wholesome.
This species may reach a diameter of seven inches, its shape at first rounded, convex, then flat, concave, and finally funnel-shaped, as in many of the species. But its decidedly ardent tang in the raw state, as reminiscent from my own experience, warns me not to dwell too enthusiastically upon its merits in my limited selection of desirable esculent species.
Mild white-milk species Peppery white-milk species