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Candy Cap (Lactarius fragilis, or rubridus?) and Lactarius xanthogalactus mushrooms – N. California

January 4, 2013

I’m not sure which of the following species of Lactarius these are below. The Candy Cap mushrooms included the following… L. camphoratus, L. fragilis, and L. rubidus.

This is a peculiar mushroom, more commonly used as a culinary flavoring (like saffron, vanilla, etc) in sweet dishes. Upon drying these mushrooms give off the unmistakable aroma of maple syrup. They are highly sought after and integrated into cookies, ice cream, cakes and so forth.

 candy cap

Here is a photo of the gills, below.

candy cap underside

See below… The Candy Cap is the one on the right. The one on the left is likely the toxic Lactarius xanthogalactus (thank you Matt Snow for the ID via comment forum). Lactarius xanthogalactus exude a yellow latex when cut or broken. Candy Caps exude a milky clear latex. The two mushrooms also smell quite different.


Again, Candy Cap gills on the right, and Lactarius xanthogalactus gills on the left in the photo below


7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2013 10:08:02 pm

    My mother in law often picks mushrooms in the forest, knowing how to tell which ones are good. I don’t think I would ever be brave enough to trust that i know which ones won’t kill me 🙂

  2. January 6, 2013 10:08:33 am

    As a fungi lover I am really appreciating these posts. It is easy to see how people die of mushroom poisoning each year…you would have to be well educated to know the difference and a little mistake could be tragic. Amanita’s seem to be doing a bit of damage to the Aussie population in the last 6 months especially with newly arrived Asians who love to experiment with what they find foraging. We all need blogs like this to give us this precious information and to point us in the right direction to find more :). Cheers to you and your family and I hope that California is treating you all well 🙂

    • January 8, 2013 10:08:19 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and appreciating the site. I’ll be sure to get more fungi photo tutorials up. Happy New Year.

      • January 8, 2013 10:08:54 pm

        Especially the edibles 😉 Not that Steve is going to let me eat them, but it is just nice to know that someone out there is enjoying natures bountiful harvest :).

  3. January 11, 2013 10:08:34 pm

    The cap on the left, third image down is Lactarius xanthogalactus. toxic.

    • January 11, 2013 10:08:17 pm

      Great, thank you for visiting the site and the identification.

      • mattsn0w permalink
        January 11, 2013 10:08:06 pm

        No problem! the space by my house in the Santa Cruz mountains are littered right now with them! hopefully I will find some candy caps like you have. 🙂

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