This medium to large-size Lactarius appears in the autumn season in our area under planted birches. It features caps that range from dull yellow to olive color, becoming blackish and somewhat shiny in age. The stem is hollow, barrel-shaped, and yellowish to grey or olive with darker spots. The gills are crowded together, usually cream color, and darken when bruised. Broken or cut portions of the mushroom exude a copious white latex. The taste is extremely peppery. It has a counterpart,Lactarius olivaceoumbrinus, that is found in our conifer forests.
Lactarius plumbeusis part of the Burke Museum's Mushroom of the Month series.
Photo by J. Ammirati