Lactarius torminosus

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Lactarius torminosus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Russulales
Family: Russulaceae
Genus: Lactarius
Species: L. torminosus
Binomial name
Lactarius torminosus

Lactarius torminosus, commonly known as the woolly milkcap or the bearded milkcap, is a mushroom in the genus Lactarius. It is a common and widely distributed fungus, found in North Africa, northern Asia, Northern Europe, and North America. L. torminosus associates with various trees, most commonly birch, and the mushrooms grow on the ground singly or in groups in mixed forests. Although it is valued for its peppery flavor and eaten after suitable preparation in Russia and Finland, it is highly irritating to the digestive system when eaten raw. The toxins responsible for the acrid taste are destroyed by cooking.

The caps of L. torminosus mushrooms are convex with a central depression, and attain a diameter of up to 10 cm (3.9 in). Its color is a blend of pink and ochre hues, sometimes with circular zones of darker shades. The edge of the cap is rolled inwards, and shaggy when young. On the underside of the caps are narrow flesh-colored gills crowded closely together. It is on these fertile gill surfaces that the spore-bearing cells, the basidia are found. The cylindrical stem is a pale flesh color with a downy surface, reaching a length of up to 8 cm (3.1 in) and a thickness of 0.6–2 cm (0.2–0.8 in). When cut or injured, the fruit bodies ooze a white latex that does not change color upon exposure to air. The variety normandensis, in contrast, has latex that changes from white to yellow.