Fenugreek Milkcap

Lactarius helvus


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By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

Fenugreek Milkcap Lactarius helvus (Fr.) Fr. (illustrated 40% life size) Cap 5–12cm across, flattened convex with a shallow depression, sometimes with a small umbo, margin incurved at first; yellowish to brick-cinnamon with numerous slightly darker flecks or small flattened scales; thin and firm-fleshed at first but becoming soft and easily broken. Stem 50–120Γ—5–30mm, cylindrical to slightly club-shaped; reddish-ochre or cinnamon to darkish brick; becoming hollow, often powdery or finely downy. Flesh whitish. Gills adnate to slightly decurrent, prolonged down the stem as short ridges; pale or buffy ochre. Milk clear; taste mild or slightly bitter, smell almost none when fresh, very strongly of curry or stock cubes when dried and persisting for years. Spores 6.5–9Γ—5.5–6.5ΒΌ, elliptical; warts small, mostly joined by slender ridges in a poorly developed network. Spore print whitish with a slight salmon tinge (A–B). Habitat in conifer woods on heaths and moors; summer to autumn. Occasional. Slightly poisonous but sometimes dried and powdered to use as a condiment.

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