Oak Milk (Lactarius zonarius)Systematics:
- Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
- Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
- Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
- Subclass: Incertae sedis (undefined)
- Order: Russulales
- Family: Russulaceae (Russula)
- Genus: Lactarius (Miller)
- Species: Lactarius zonarius (Oak Milk)
- Other names for the mushroom:
- Gingerbread oak
Oak milk, outwardly very similar to all other milk mushrooms and differs from them only in a slightly reddish or yellowish-orange, or orange-brick color of its fruit body. And for its generic feature to grow in bushes, heaps or heaps ("milk mushrooms") in the oak forests of deciduous forests, and that was its name. The oak mushroom, as well as the aspen and poplar mushrooms, is the main competitor of the black mushroom and also loses to him in only one thing - in the constant presence of dirt on the surface of its cap due to the fact that the maturation of the oak mushroom, as well as the aspen and poplar mushrooms, occurs , as a rule, under the ground and on the surface, it appears already mature. In terms of food and consumer indicators, oak mushrooms (like aspen and poplar mushrooms) belong to the conditionally edible mushrooms of the second category.It is also considered conditionally edible due to the presence of a burning-bitter milky juice in its pulp, which can be attributed to the advantages of this kind of mushrooms because, due to its presence, oak mushrooms, like other mushrooms, rarely infect mushroom worms.
Oak mushrooms are quite common, but in forests rich in broad-leaved trees such as oak, beech and hornbeam. The main period of ripening and fruiting in them falls approximately in the very middle of summer and, closer to autumn, they get out to the surface, where they continue to grow and bear fruit, at least until the end of September - early October.
The oak lump belongs to the lamellar mushrooms, that is, the spore powder with which it multiplies is in its plates. The plates themselves are very wide and frequent, whitish-pinkish or reddish-orange in color. Its cap is funnel-shaped, wide, concave inward, with a slightly tomentose edge, reddish or yellowish-orange-brick color. The leg is dense, even, narrowed downward and hollow inside, off-white or pinkish. Its pulp is dense, whitish or creamy. Milky sap is very pungent in taste, white in color, and when it comes into contact with air, it does not change it. Oak milk mushrooms are eaten only in salted form, after they have been preliminary and thoroughly soaked in cold water to remove the bitter taste from them. We should not forget that oak mushrooms,just like all other milk mushrooms, they are never dried.