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Lactarius mutabilis

Common Name: None

Synonyms:

Substrate: Ground

Location: Conifer and mixed woods

Spore Color: Whitish

Gill Color: White to yellowish

Latex: White, unchanging

Comments: 

The first thing I usually do when I find a browish to red-brown to purplish Lactarius is to smell it. If it has a sweet odor, that quickly narrows down your options, although it may still be tough to get to species.

This Lactarius generally has dull brown tones with a zonate cap.  Look for a white latex that is somewhat watery with age. The latex should not be acrid, and should not change to yellow, but may sometimes stain the gills pinkish or reddish. These things together with white or yellowish gills and growth in coniferous or mixed woods should yeild Lactarius mutabilis.

Another very similar species is Lactarius quietus var. incanus. For a descent field ID, if you find this mushroom in oak woods, call it L. quietus var incanus. If you find it in mixed woods, call it L. mutabilis.

Lookalikes: 

Several other species have a sweet smell as well. Lactarius camphoratus is similar but usually has a small "nipple" in the center of the cap and is often smaller. Lactarius quietus var. incanus andL. frustratus have a stem that darkens from the base upwards as it ages. Lactarius helvus (L. aquifluus) has a watery latex, a long stem and grows in conifer or mixed woods.

Lactarius frustratus has an acrid taste to the milk. Lactarius cognoscibilis also has an acrid taste and is known from Florida.

Photos:

Lactarius mutabilis

 

9/11/12 - Paynetown SRA - Bloomington, IN