Between April and late June, after rain, lots of Sydney-siders head for the highlands to the west and south of the city in search of Lactarius deliciosus. Also known as the Saffron milk cap, Red pine mushroom or by its Catalan name Rovelló or Rovellons, is the one of the best known members of the large milk-cap genus Lactarius in the order Russulales. It is found in Europe and North America and has been accidentally introduced into Australia under conifers. The pine plantations around Oberon to the west, and Bundanoon to the south can be sometimes carpeted with these mushrooms.
A fresco in the Roman town of Herculaneum appears to depict Lactarius deliciosus and is one of the earliest pieces of art to illustrate a fungus.
Lactarius deliciosus is often confused with Lactarius rubidus which stains green, has red latex, and is also edible.
The mushroom is truly delicious, although some sites say they don't taste all that good. They should be picked when young. Some care should be taken, because I have seen people accidentally pick old Amanita Muscaria which lose their spots and turn a dull orange when they age, thinking they are delicious. Amanita Muscaria almost always grows alongside deliciosus in Australia. They can be fried up with olive oil and garlic, and make a great meal.
- Lactarius deliciosus, Fiddens wharf Rd and Beaumont Rd, Killara, NSW, in suburban lawn May, after heay rain, 2003
- Lactarius deliciosus, Gunya Hut, Upper Allyn, New South Wales, April, 2007 - a young fungi; the older ones often get tin
- Lactarius Deliciosus, saffron milk caps, Wingelo State Forest, near Bundanoon, Southern Highlands, NSW, March 15, 2009.
- Fig. 1.óLactarius deliciosus. Fig. 2.óL. chelidonium. Fig. 3.óL. indigo. From Project Gutenberg: Studies of American