Indigo Milkcap

By William T. Hathaway

Indigo Milkcap (Lactarius indigo)

My phantom student passed by a faded mushroom that had pale-purplish lines arranged in concentric circles from the center of the mushroom cap. There was nothing significant about this specimen that demanded attention until an analytical slice revealed an extraordinarily colorful purple sap. Aha, we had found the Indigo Milkcap (Lactarius indigo)!

This species is a member of the Lactarius genus, which is comprised of gilled mushrooms with distinctively brittle flesh; nearly all species within this genus possess a watery substance known as fungal latex. This latex is often of various colors; purple latex is colorful but noticeably rare.

Indigo Milkcaps that I have seen were found in a mixed pine/hardwood forest.