Quick facts

Common name: oakbug milkcap

Scientific name: Lactarius quietus

Family: Russulaceae

Fruiting season: August-November

Habitat: under oak trees

What does oakbug milkcap look like?

Grows up to 7cm tall and 8cm across, with a pale brown cap and stem.

Cap: a rounded cap that flattens with age, developing a shallow dimple in the centre. It is a dull, reddish brown with cinnamon tints, often ringed by bands of darker spots.

Gills/spores: underneath the cap the gills are pale brown, ageing to reddish brown with a hint of mauve and oozing a creamy-white, milky substance (latex) when damaged.

Stipe (stalk): the stem is the same colour as the cap, slightly darker towards the base.

Not to be confused with: the fenugreek milkcap (Lactarius helvus) which is found on heaths and under conifers and is mildly poisonous. There are approximately 70 species of milkcap in the UK, and many share similar characters.

Credit: Buiten Beeld / Alamy Stock Photo

Where to find oakbug milkcap

Oakbug milkcap is very common in the UK. It is always found under oak trees, often in large groups.

Value to wildlife

Oakbug milkcap is an important mycorrhizal species for oak trees, forming cooperative relationships with oak roots.

Credit: imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

Uses of oakbug milkcap

It is not poisonous, and is considered edible by some who say that the bitter taste of the fresh mushroom largely disappears on cooking and the final flavour is ‘carrot with a hint of ginger’. Others say that it is an ‘unpleasant-tasting mushroom’.

Did you know?

It is thought that milkcap fungi (Lactarius spp.) exude latex as a form of self-defence when damaged, because it dries to form a protective coating around the injury, keeping out bacteria and other contaminants.

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