Mushroom of the Month
Lactarius indigo: The Indigo Milky Cap
The indigo milky cap is an unique edible mushroom. There are no other blue Lactarius species and certainly none that have a dark blue latex. This is one good edible with no even moderately close lookalikes. Unfortunately, this is not a common mushroom in our area but I have found some of them at least once in the last four years. Specimens were found in the after hunt following a hunt at the Eddy Center in July of 2014.
The blue to bluish gray cap ranges from 2 to 6 inches wide and from 1 to 4 inches tall. Like many other Lactarius mushrooms the cap is zoned with lighter and darker concentric circle areas. The cap and stem occasionally stain green when bruised. The stem is ¾ to 3 ½ inches tall and 1/16 to 1 inch in diameter. The close-spaced, indigo blue gills are attached adnately. The latex is dark blue slowly oxidizing to green. The spore print is cream. In Michigan we are at the Northern end of this mushroom’s range. It is more common in the South; perhaps the recent findings are due to global warming.
This is an excellent edible. I rank its taste with Lactarius hygrophoroides and L. volemus. I have not found this mushroom often enough or in sufficient frequency to prepare it into a special dish but have tasted it sautéed in butter as a side dish.