“Plant” of the day: candy cap

Lactarius_fragilis2This little dusky orange mushroom has a persistently sweet odor when cooked or dried. I’m not generally what mycologists call an “eater”–I tend to be extremely conservative when a mistaken ID can lead to, you know, death. But according to mushroom expert David Arora’s book, the sweet odor of the candy cap (Lactarius fragilis) is oddly persistent. It will linger in your house for days, and if you eat enough of them, your body will even start to exude the maple-syrup-like aroma!! But even though this is nifty, I DON’T recommend eating this little guy since it can mingle with other similar mushrooms, including some that are poisonous. I prefer to admire it in situ and move on.

An interesting trait of the Lactarius genus is that they often emit a white, gluey goo when you break the cap. This goo, called latex, can be a lot of different colors–though in the candy cap it is either absent or a prosaic white. Lactarius_fragilis1


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