Lactarius deliciosus

Jump to: navigation, search
Lactarius deliciosus
File:Lactarius deliciosus.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Order: Russulales
Family: Russulaceae
Genus: Lactarius
Species: L. deliciosus
Binomial name
Lactarius deliciosus
(L. ex Fr.) S.F.Gray

Error: Image is invalid or non-existent.

Lactarius controversus
mycological characteristics:
Gills icon.png 
gills on hymenium

cap is depressed

hymenium is decurrent

stipe is bare

spore print is tan

Mycorrhizal ecology icon.png 

ecology is mycorrhizal

edibility: choice

Lactarius deliciosus, known as the Saffron milk cap, Red pine mushroom or by its Catalan name Rovelló or Rovellons,[1] is the one of the best known members of the large milk-cap genus Lactarius in the order Russulales. It is found in Europe and North America and has been accidentally introduced to other countries under conifers and can be found growing in pine plantations.

In the Girona area this type of mushroom is called a "pinatell" because it is collected near wild pine trees; typically they are harvested in October following the late August rain. Due to its scarcity it commands high prices.

A fresco in the Roman town of Herculaneum appears to depict Lactarius deliciosus and is one of the earliest pieces of art to illustrate a fungus.[2]

When grown in liquid culture, the mycelium of this fungus produces Anofinic acid, chroman-4-one, 3-hydroxyacetylindole, cyclic dipeptides, ergosterol, and a mixture of fatty acids. [1]


Rovellons or Lactarius delicious

Lactarius deliciosus has a carrot orange cap which is convex to vase shaped, inrolled when young, 4 to 14 cm across, often with darker orange lines in the form of concentric circles. The cap is sticky and viscid when wet, but is often dry. It has crowded decurrent gills and a squat orange stipe which is often hollow, 3 to 8 cm long and 1 to 2 cm thick. This mushroom stains a deep green color when handled. When fresh, the mushroom exudes an orange-red latex or "milk" that does not change color.

This mushroom is often confused with Lactarius rubidus which stains green, has red latex, and is also edible.

Distribution and habitat

Lactarius deliciosus grows under the acidic soil of conifers and forms a mycorrhizal relationship with its host tree. It is native to the southern Pyrenees where it grows under Mediterranean pines. It can also be found in woodlands in North America as well as having been introduced to Australia and New Zealand, where it grows in Pinus radiata plantations. Many people of Polish, Ukrainian and other eastern European ancestry in the environs of Sydney travel to collect these mushrooms after autumn rainfall around Easter time.


File:Lactarius deliciosus sliced email.jpg
sliced milk-caps, showing the orange milk appearing at mushroom edges

Lactarius deliciosus is a widely collected mushroom in the Southern Pyrenees and Majorca and used in Catalan cuisine.[1] One recipe recommends they should be lightly washed, fried whole cap down in olive oil with a small amount of garlic and served drenched in raw olive oil and parsley. The same recipe advised that butter should never be used when cooking this mushroom.

Further north and east it is a feature of Provençal cuisine.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 MacMiadhacháin, A (1976). Spanish Regional Cookery. Harmondsworth: Penguin. pp. 198–199. ISBN 0-14-046-230-9.
  2. Ramsbottom J (1953). Mushrooms & Toadstools. Collins. ISBN.
  3. Olney, Richard (1995). A Provencal Table. London: Pavilion. pp. 31–32. ISBN 1-85793-632-9.

External links

an:Robellón bg:Рижика ca:Rovelló cs:Ryzec pravý co:Lattaghjolu (funzu) de:Edelreizker it:Lactarius deliciosus lt:Pušyninė rudmėsė nl:Oranjegroene melkzwam no:Furumatriske nn:Furumatriske sl:Užitna sirovka uk:Рижик смачний