Curry Milkcap

(Lactarius camphoratus)

Conservation Status
Curry Milkcap
Photo by Honey Fae (Farah)
  IUCN Red List

not listed


not listed


not listed


Curry Milkcap is an edible, small to medium-sized, gilled mushroom. It occurs in Europe and North America. In the United States it occurs in the eastern mixed forests from Maine to Florida, west to Minnesota and Missouri. Disjunct populations have been recorded in northern Colorado around Denver, northern Washington around Seattle, and northern California around San Francisco. It is uncommon in Minnesota, where it reaches the western extent of its range. It is found in spring, summer, and fall, alone, scattered, or in groups but not clustered (gregarious). It grows on the ground attached to the roots of both hardwood and conifer trees. It has a mutually beneficial relationship (mycorrhizal) with the tiny rootlets of trees, absorbing sugars and amino acids while helping the tree absorb water.

When it first appears, the cap is convex and dark reddish-brown. The upper surface may be moist or dry and is sometimes covered with a fine dust-like powder. There is usually a sharp, raised point (papilla) in the middle. As it ages the cap expands and the color fades. The mature cap is to 1¾ (1.5 to 4.5 cm) in diameter, broadly convex on top and flat below (plano-convex), and depressed in the center. The papilla often persists. The upper surface is reddish-brown or orangish-brown in the center, fading to pale pinkish near the margin. The margin is sometimes scalloped or lined on older specimens.

The gills are closely spaced or crowded, and are broadly attached to the stalk, sometimes slightly running down the stalk. They are whitish to pale pinkish at first, becoming reddish to cinnamon brown with age. They do not have stains from the latex.

The stalk is hollow, fragile, to 2 (1.5 to 6.0 cm) long, and to ½ (3 to 13 mm) thick, more or less the same thickness from top to bottom. It is the same color as the cap but becomes paler near the top with age. It is mostly smooth but may have hairs near the base. It does not have “potholes”.

A fresh mushroom will exude a milky latex when sliced. This is best seen by slicing the gills near the stalk. The latex is white and milky at first, becoming thin and watery white (whey-like) with age. It does not stain white paper yellow.

The flesh is hard, brittle, and pale cinnamon to white. It has a mild or slightly bitter taste, and a burnt sugar or maple-like odor when fresh, but a stronger curry-like odor when it dries. This is the feature that gives the mushroom its common name. It is edible, but it closely resembles other species whose edibility is unknown.

The spore print is pale yellow or whitish.


Similar Species

Habitat and Hosts

Hardwood and conifer trees




Spring, summer, and fall


Distribution Map



4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.




Uncommon in Minnesota

  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Russulales  
  Family Russulaceae (milkcaps, brittlegills, and allies)  
  Genus Lactarius (common milkcaps)  


  Section Olentes  

The common name Candy Cap has been applied to three closely related edible milkcap mushrooms, Lactarius camphoratus, L. fragilis, and L. rubidus. They are sometimes treated as a species complex.




Agaricus camphoratus

Agaricus cimicarius

Galorrheus camphoratus

Lactarius cimicarius

Lactarius terryi

Lactifluus camphoratus

Lactifluus terryi


Common Names


Curry Milkcap

Curry-scented Milkcap












A symbiotic, usually beneficial relationship between a fungus and the tiny rootlets of a plant, usually a tree.



On plants: A tiny, rounded, nipple-like projection on the surface of a leaf or petal. On mushrooms: A small, raised, sharply pointed projection on the cap above the point of attachment with the stalk.





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Honey Fae (Farah)

    Curry Milkcap   Curry Milkcap  








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Other Videos
  4K Lactarius camphoratus Mushroom Identification
Ultimate Mushroom

Jan 8, 2023

Text Mushroom Identification:

  Curry Milkcap Fungus (Lactarius camphoratus) - Nature Insights
Roger Griffith

Jul 28, 2016

The Curry Milkcap grows in pine and deciduous woods in summer and autumn. Being a milkcap it exudes milky fluid (lactates) if the gills are broken. A smell of curry pervades the dry milk and cap. Edible and used as a flavouring in powdered form.




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  Honey Fae (Farah)

Location: Duluth, MN

Curry Milkcap







Created: 1/17/2023

Last Updated:

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