Lactarius controversus

Lactarius controversus, commonly known as the blushing milkcap, is a large funnel-capped fungus within the genus Lactarius, which are collectively known as 'milk caps'. They all exude milky drops (lactate) from the flesh and gills when damaged. It has no common English name.

Lactarius controversus
Lactarius controversus.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Russulales
Family: Russulaceae
Genus: Lactarius
L. controversus
Binomial name
Lactarius controversus
(Pers.) (1800)
Lactarius controversus
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium
cap is depressed
hymenium is decurrent
stipe is bare
spore print is white
ecology is mycorrhizal
edibility: inedible


Accredited to Christian Hendrik Persoon, one of the fathers of mycology.


It is distinguishable mainly by its pinkish-buff gills and rosy markings on the upper cap surface, often arranged in concentric rings. Like other fungi in the genus, it has crumbly, rather than fibrous, flesh, and when this is broken the fungus exudes a white milky liquid. Mature specimens are funnel-shaped, with decurrent gills and a concave cap to 30 (40) cm in diameter. It has firm, tough flesh, and a stipe which is shorter than the fruitbody is wide. The spore print is creamy-pink in colour.

Lactarius controversus is similar to several white milk-caps in the genus Lactifluus which however are only distantly related: The 'fleecy milk-cap' Lactifluus vellereus, its sister species Lf. bertillonii, and the 'peppery milk-cap' Lf. piperatus all lack the pinkish gills and 'rosy' cap markings.

Underside, showing pinkish gills.
Close up showing rosy cap markings

Distribution and habitatEdit

It is found in Britain, and Europe, and usually grows with species of Salix (Goat willow or Creeping willow) on heaths and moors. It is uncommon.[1] It is widespread in North America growing with aspen, poplar, and willow. Found in the aspen forests of the Sierra Nevada, and has been noted in New Mexico.[2]


This mushroom is considered inedible in western Europe due to its very acrid taste, but is eaten, and even commercially collected, in south-eastern European countries such as Serbia and Turkey.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Roger Phillips (2006). Mushrooms. Pan MacMillan. ISBN 0-330-44237-6.
  2. ^ David Arora (1986). Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 0-89815-169-4.
  3. ^,