Spore print white or yellow. Cap about 5-10 cm diam., slightly sunken towards the centre, surface often velvety, most species pale orange (salmon) or dark brown. Flesh brittle, snaps easily, exudates a white or yellowish sticky liquid when broken. Stipe similar in colour to cap, cylindric or tapering slightly towards the base, no ring.
Lactarius species are ectomycorrhizal, always found on the soil close to their host trees. The indigenous species are confined to either Nothofagus forests or to stands of tea-tree, where they are often found in large numbers in the autumn. L. clarkeae and L. umerensis are orange in colour, L. sepaceus is dark brown, L. maruiaensis is yellowish, while L. tawai is variable in colour (orangish, reddish, purplish) but distinctive because of the concentric zoned pattern of the cap.
The exotic species include three species under silver birch (L. pubescens with whitish to pale orange cap, L. glyciosmus and L. turpis with dark caps, L. glyciosmus with a distinctive coconut odour), and L. deliciosus at a few sites in the southern South Island under pines.


NZFungi Entry

Lactarius clarkeae

Two varieties are recognised, L. clarkeae var clarkeae under Leptospermum (also found in Australia under Leptospermum) and L. clarkeae var. aurantioruber under Nothofagus. The Nothofagus variety has

Lactarius umerensis

An indigenous species, quite common under Nothofagus.