Saffron Milkcap

Lactarius deterrimus, L. deliciosus


Distinguishing characteristics:                               
The Saffron Milkcap can be identified by its orange-red cap with zones of colouration. The gills and stem are also orange or reddish yellow. The stem is hollow, a typical Feature of Milkcaps. The flesh is yellowish white. The exuded latex is carrot-red and later turns green. The False Saffron Milkcap (L. deterrimus) has more closely spaced zones of colour and a more greenish hue than the Saffron Milkcap (L. deliciosus). The Saffron Milkcap can also be recognized by the pitted orange spots on its stem.

The Woolly Milkcap has zones of colour, but is a paler reddish shade. Its woolly cap has a fringed appearance. Unlike the Aaffron Milkcap, the Woolly Milkcap has white latex. 

The False Saffron Milkcap grows in thickly vegetated stands of spruce trees. The Saffron Milkcap can be found in pine forests and sandy heaths and is associated with pine tree roots. These mushrooms are common in southern Finland and are somewhat abundant in suitable northern habitat as well.

Harvest season:
August to September is the best time for gathering Saffron Milkcaps.

Saffron Milkcaps need not be boiled before being used in food preparation. They are mild mushrooms with a slightly acrid taste that dissipates as they are cooked. Saffron Milkcaps can be prepared in a variety of ways. They are an excellent soup ingredient when dried. They can also be simmered and then frozen in their own broth. However, Saffron Milkcaps have one drawback from the mushroom hunter’s point of view: fungus gnats are especially fond of them, so they tend to have large numbers of larvae when found.