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Lactarius subvernalis var. cokeri
by Michael Kuo
The pink staining, the whitish to buff-brown colors, the close or crowded gills, and the very acrid taste distinguish this attractive species. Lactarius piperatus is similar, but is typically a larger mushroom, and it does not stain pink when bruised or sliced. I have seen specimens of Lactarius subplinthogalus (which does stain pink) that were similarly colored, but that species has very distant gills and, often, a wavy or scalloped cap margin. Lactarius fumosus is also similar, but has a smoky brown cap and less acrid taste.
Lactarius subvernalis var. cokeri is found in eastern North America under hardwoods.
Ecology: Mycorrhizal with hardwoods--especially oaks; growing scattered or gregariously; summer and fall; widely distributed in eastern North America.
Cap: 3-6 cm; convex at first, becoming flat, often with a central depression, or shallowly vase-shaped; the margin even by maturity; dry; finely suedelike; whitish to buff, or sometimes pale brownish with maturity; more or less evenly colored; sometimes bruising pink.
Gills: Attached to the stem or running slightly down it; often forked near the stem; close or crowded; white at first, later dingy buff; often stained salmon pink by the milk when sliced.
Stem: 5-7 cm long; 0.5-2 cm thick; more or less equal; dry; finely suedelike; without potholes; whitish; usually bruising pink; hollowing.
Flesh: Soft; whitish but typically staining pink when cut (occasionally not staining, or staining only faintly and very slowly--especially in hot, dry weather).
Milk: White; unchanging; usually staining surfaces pink; staining white paper slightly yellow.
Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive; taste usually strongly acrid, but occasionally slightly so or even mild.
Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.
Spore Print: Pale yellow.
Microscopic Features: Spores 6-8 µ; globose or subglobose; ornamentation 0.5-1.5 µ high, as amyloid spines and ridges forming a partial or complete reticulum. Pleuromacrocystidia absent. Cheilomacrocystidia abundant; up to 60 x 6 µ; subfusoid to subcylindric. Pileipellis a trichoepithelium or an epithelium.
Hesler & Smith (1979) describe three varieties of Lactarius subvernalis, including var. cokeri (described above), var. subvernalis (milk white but changing to yellow on exposure to air), and var. albo-ochraceus (milk white, drying red).
Further Online Information:
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2011, March). Lactarius subvernalis var. cokeri. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/lactarius_subvernalis_cokeri.html