Indigo Milk Cap Mushroom

Scientific Name(s): Lactarius indigo
Abundance: Uncommon
What: cap, stem
How: cooked
Where: shaded hard woods
When: summer
Nutritional Value: vitamins, minerals, fiber
Dangers: beware of poisonous mimic Golden Milk Cap (Lactarius alnicola)


Growth Form: Lactarius indigo grows solitarily or in groups, in a toadstool shape.

Cap Shape and Size: The cap is initially convex, becoming flat to depressed, with a diameter of 2 to 6 inches. It's characterized by its striking indigo blue color, which fades with age. Concentric, darker blue rings circle the top of the cap.

Gills or Pores: This species has gills that are attached or slightly decurrent. The gills are a similar indigo blue as the cap and may stain green when bruised.

Stipe Characteristics: The stipe is 1 to 2 inches long and 0.6 to 1.2 inches thick, colored indigo blue, and may have a slightly lighter shade than the cap.

Odor: Lactarius indigo typically does not have a distinctive odor.

Bruising: When bruised or cut, the mushroom's flesh and latex turn green.

Spore Color: The spore print of Lactarius indigo is a pale yellow/off-white.

Substrate and Habitat: It is commonly found in woodland settings, particularly under hardwoods and conifers.

Other Characteristics: This mushroom exudes a milky latex when the gills or flesh are damaged. The latex is indigo blue and slowly turns green upon exposure to air.

Indigo Milk Caps have distinctive, blue rings on a concave (slightly funnel shaped) cap.
Mushroom Milk Indigo Lactarius Indigo

The gills are closely packed, stop at the stem, and don't run the etire length from cap edge to stem.
Mushroom Milk Indigo Lactarius Indigo

The gills will turn dark when touched.
Mushroom Milk Indigo Lactarius Indigo

The interior of the cap and stem are blue.
Mushroom Milk Indigo Lactarius Indigo

The cap will weep a blue "milk" when cut or damaged.
Mushroom Milk Indigo Lactarius Indigo – Version 2

The blue milk will stain things.
Mushroom Milk Indigo Lactarius Indigo

Older mushroom, having lost its circular shape.
Mushroom - Lactarius indigo

Indigo Milk Cap mushrooms are a summertime treasure in the woods of Texas. Their distinctive blue color makes them stand out against the leaf litter below shaded, moist environs of hardwood forests of oak, hickory, and elm. It's rarer but not impossible to find them in heavy pine forests. They usually don't appear in large numbers close to one another, preferring a more solitary life rather than a plentiful colony. Also, they do not grow on dead or living wood.

Damage to the cap or stem will produce a copious bleeding of the blue milk from which the mushroom gets it's name. This milk will turn a dark green as it's exposed to air. The inner surface of the mushroom will change from blue to green in the same manner.

The cap is a silvery color with blue rings. When younger the cap is circular in shape and domed. The edge of the cap will curl under the mushroom, partially hiding the gills. As it matures the cap edge spreads out and lifts, creating a depression in the top center of the mushroom and it loses its circular shape, becoming wavy. Indigo Blue Milk Caps have true gills that are made of a different tissue than the cap itself. It produces a pure white spore print. These gills are "adnate" which means they stop at the stem. The stem (aka stipe) is bare, with no remains of a cover or volva.

Cook Indigo Milk Caps as you would any other fleshy mushroom. They do well in everything from simply sauteing in butter to deep frying. The milk won't color sauces blue, unfortunately.

Other members of the Lactarius family can be poisonous. One common one is the Golden Milk Cap (Lactarius alnicola). It has the same shape, rings, and size as the edible Lactarius indigo but it has a gold color and weeps white milk.

Poisonous Golden Milk Cap (Lactarius alnicola) has the same shape and structure as the Indigo Milk Cap but is yellow/gold instead of blue.
Mushroom - Lactarius alnicola

Underside view.
Mushroom - Lactarius alnicola

Side view of poisonous Golden Milk Cap.
Mushroom - Lactarius alnicola

Crosscut view of poisonous Golden Milk Cap.
Mushroom - Lactarius alnicola

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Privacy & Amazon Paid Promotion Statement

I use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit this website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.

I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. The prices you pay for the item isn't affected, my sales commission comes out of Amazon's pocket.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.