T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Lactarius turpis (Ugly milkcap)

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Russulales
Family: Russulaceae
Genus: Lactarius
Species: L. turpis
Binomial name: Lactarius turpis
Synonyms: Lactarius turpis
Lactarius necator, Lactarius plumbeus, Agaricus turpis, Galorrheus turpis, Lactifluus turpis
Common names: Ugly milkcap, Smoker’s lung milkcap

Lactarius turpis is a very variable mushroom. It is found naturally in Europe and Siberia and has been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. While especially ectomycorrhizal with birches on acid soils, especially in wet woodland edges. They are also found with spruce, pine and other trees in mixed forests. It occurs late summer to autumn.
The generic name Lactarius means producing milk (lactating) - a reference to the milky latex that is exuded from the gills of milkcap fungi when they are cut or torn. The specific epithet turpis comes directly from Latin and means ugly.

Lactarius turpis caps range from 8 to 20cm across when fully developed. The caps are a dark, olive-brown to dark grey and are slimy when wet. They are initially convex with their centres becoming slightly depressed and occasionally retain a small umbo. With age, caps can become funnel-shaped and darken to a blackish colour. The caps tend to collect debris on top. The flesh is a dirty white that turns brown when cut. When potassium hydroxide or ammonia are applied to the cap there is a purple reaction.
The stems that are up to 8 cm long and have no stem ring.
The gills are a cream to pale buff in colour and are sepia-tinged when bruised. When damaged the gills exude an abundant white latex which turns an olive green with age.

The photo below is a Lactarius turpis associated with an oak tree. They grow solitarily or in scattered groups in the autumn months.


The photo below is a Lactarius turpis associated with silver birch. the cap is slightly depressed and there is a small umbo in the centre.



A photo showing the milky latex exuding from damaged gills.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/  


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