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Lactarius peckii

[ Basidiomycota > Russulales > Russulaceae > Lactarius . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Lactarius peckii is an eastern hardwood-associated milky cap with a dry, brick red to reddish orange cap, copious white milk, and dark gills. Gertrude Burlingham first named the species in 1908, designating a North Carolina collection as the type collection; she named the species for American mycologist Charles Peck, who had collected it previously without naming it.

Smith & Hesler (1979) described two varieties on the basis of color changes in the latex: Lactarius peckii var. glaucescens, with milk drying green; and Lactarius peckii var. lactolutescens, with milk turning slowly yellowish, then drying greenish.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with oaks and other hardwoods; growing alone or gregariously; summer and fall; fairly widely distributed in eastern North America, but more common in the Appalachian Mountains. The illustrated and described collections are from Kentucky and Ohio.

Cap: 4–9 cm; convex with a slightly inrolled margin when young; becoming centrally depressed, with an uplifted margin; dry; bald or very finely velvety; brick red to dark orangish red or ruddy orange; with or without faint to moderate concentric zones of color.

Gills: Beginning to run down the stem; close or crowded; short-gills frequent; pale orange when young, darkening to brownish orange or brownish (eventually brown) with maturity; not staining where damaged.

Stem: 2.5–4 cm long; 1–2 cm thick; more or less equal; bald; without potholes; dry; pale, dull orange or darker orange.

Flesh: Orangish; fairly firm; unchanging when sliced.

Milk: Copious; white; not staining surfaces, but drying very slowly yellowish to greenish; staining white paper yellow overnight.

Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive; taste quickly burning-acrid.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative to yellowish on cap surface.

Spore Print: Reported as white by Hesler & Smith (1979).

Microscopic Features: Spores 5–6.5 x 5–6 µm; globose or subglobose; ornamentation consisting of amyloid warts and ridges extending 0.5–1 µm high, forming wide-meshed, partially reticulated areas. Hymenial macrocystidia 35–45 x 5–7.5 µm; long-fusiform; sometimes with an apical constriction; thin-walled; smooth. Pileipellis a cutis; orangish golden in KOH; elements cylindric, 2.5–5 µm wide, smooth.

REFERENCES: Burlingham, 1908. (Hesler & Smith, 1979; Weber & Smith, 1985; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Roody, 2003; Binion et al., 2008.) Herb. Kuo 08111201.

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Lactarius peckii

Lactarius peckii

Lactarius peckii

Lactarius peckii

Lactarius peckii

Lactarius peckii

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Kuo, M. (2016, December). Lactarius peckii. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: