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This page is used to feature mushrooms that are prevalent for the particular time of the year or, during the winter months, to feature some of the less desirable or hard to find mushrooms. To see some of our previous stars follow this link to an index of previously featured mushrooms.

                October's Mushroom of the Month

Lactarius fallax var. concolor


While on our annual Upper Peninsula hunt near L’anse and Baraga just below the Keewenaw Peninsula, an unusual mushroom was found in one foray.  There were two small, 1 to 2 inches tall, mushrooms with very velvety dark brown caps.  The smaller one was quite anomalous as its umbo had become attached to the cap of the larger mushroom and had grown in a way that yielded a ½ inch cap with a ½ inch umbo.  When I started to try to identify the mushroom, I accidently nicked the gills of the larger mushroom.  To my surprise the mushroom gave off a white latex.  I never would have started in the genus Lactarius except for this fortunate accident.  Given a starting point the mushroom ws relatively easy to identify.

The dark brownish velvety cap of Lactarius fallax ranges from 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 8 cm.) wide with an umbo (outie) when young.  As the mushroom ages and flattens the umbo is sometimes lost.  With age the outer margin becomes wavy or ribbed.  The white to yellowish, crowded to narrow gills are slightly decurrent (running down the stem).  The latex is white and unchanging.  The brownish stem ranges from 1 to 1 ½ inches (25 to 40 mm..) high and 1/8 to ½ inch wide. The stem is paler at the base.  The odor is mild and the tast is mild to somewhat peppery.  The spore print is pale yellow.  The range is given as from Alaska to Idaho and California.  This small mushroom matches the description quite well and I believe it does grow in far Northern Michigan.

Phil Tedeschi

Photo Credit: Ryan Snow