Lactarius pallidus (also known as the pale milkcap) is an edible mushroom of the genus Lactarius. It is pale in colour, and found on the floor in beech or birch woodland. Its smooth cap features a particularly thick layer of flesh, and often has an incurved margin. Though generally considered edible, it is not recommended to be eaten raw. It is common in Europe, and less common in North America and Australasia.
L. pallidus was classified as a member of Lactarius by Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries. It was first described by Christian Hendrik Persoon, who named it Agaricus pallidus in his 1797 book Tentamen dispositionis methodicae Fungorum. It is known in English by its common name, the pale milkcap.
L. pallidus has a cap of 4 to 10 centimetres (1.6 to 3.9 in) across. In shape, it is initially a flattened convex, developing a funnel-shaped depression with age. It is pale buff in colour, sometimes dull but often with rosy tint. It can also be a pale brown or pale flesh colour. The cap is smooth, firm and sticky, and has a thick layer of white to buff flesh. The margin is incurved on younger specimens. The pale colour, incurved margin and smooth cap are its most distinguishing features. The stem is 3 to 8 centimetres (1.2 to 3.1 in) long, by 6 to 28 millimetres (0.24 to 1.10 in) thick. In shape, the stem is cylindrical or slightly narrowed at the base, and is concolorous with the cap or whitish. The moderately decurrent, crowded gills are a pale rosy buff to yellowish buff, and leak white milk. The spores are elliptic, with ridges of varying thickness running across them, forming few cross-connections. They typically measure 8 to 10 by 6 to 7 micrometres. The spores leave a spore print that is pale ochre with a slight salmon tinge.
Distribution and habitat
Lactarius pallidus is typically found growing mycorrhizally under beech, but can also be found under birch. It is typically half-buried among leaf litter. It can sometimes be found in large groups, and occurs throughout summer and autumn. It can be found commonly in Europe but is much rarer in North America. It can also be found in Australia.
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