Gray-pink miller (Lactarius helvus) photo and description

Gray-pink milky (Lactarius helvus)

  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Incertae sedis (undefined)
  • Order: Russulales
  • Family: Russulaceae (Russula)
  • Genus: Lactarius (Miller)
  • Species: Lactarius helvus (Gray-pink Miller)


  • Gray-pink breast

  • Inedible milk

  • Common miller

  • Roan miller

  • Amber miller

Miller pink-gray

Gray-pink miller ( lat.Lactarius helvus ) is a mushroom of the genus Miller (lat.Lactarius) of the russula family (lat.Russulaceae). Conditionally edible.

Gray-pink milky's hat:

Large (8-15 cm in diameter), more or less rounded, equally prone to both the formation of a central tubercle and a depression; with age, these two signs can appear simultaneously - a funnel with a neat bump in the middle. The edges in youth are neatly tucked up, gradually roll out as they mature. Color - hard to describe, dull grayish brownish pink; the surface is dry, velvety, not prone to hygrophilousness, does not contain any concentric rings. The pulp is thick, brittle, whitish, with a very strong spicy odor and a bitter, not particularly pungent taste. Milky sap is scanty, watery, and may be completely absent in adult specimens.


Weakly descending, medium frequency, the same scale as the hat, but somewhat lighter.

Spore powder:


Gray-pink milky leg:

Quite thick and short, 5-8 cm in height (in mosses, however, it can be much longer), 1-2 cm in thickness, smooth, gray-pinkish, lighter than the cap, in youth, solid, strong, forms uneven lacunae.


The gray-pink miller is found in bogs among birches and pines, in mosses, from early August to mid-October; in late August and early September, it can, under favorable circumstances, bear fruit in huge quantities.

Similar species:

The smell (spicy, not very pleasant, at least not for everyone - I do not like it) allows you to distinguish the gray-pink milky from other similar mushrooms with complete confidence. For those who are just starting to get acquainted with the milkmen, relying on literature, we will say that another relatively similar mushroom with a strong smelling pulp, the oak milkman Lactarius quietus grows in dry places under oak trees, is much smaller and, on the whole, is not at all similar.


In foreign literature it is listed as weakly poisonous; here it is referred to as inedible or as edible, but of little value. People say that if you are willing to put up with the smell, then you get a milkman like a milkman. When it appears in the absence of valuable commercial mushrooms, it is at least interesting.


It is always uncomfortable for a mushroom pleasure enthusiast to admit such things, but Lactarius helvus has become one of the few milkmen who made a brightly inedible impression on me. A large, weighty mushroom with an unpleasantly dry cap, not affected by either a worm or a slug, for some reason does not fit into the basket. Perhaps it's a suspicious smell; if it were even a little weaker, it could be called piquant, spicy, or just like a chemical weapon. As with many other common mushrooms growing in pines, I met the gray-pink lactarius very late, at a conscious mushroom age; met and under the first excuse that came across, interrupted the acquaintance. Something is wrong here. Something the same as that of the oak milkman. It seems like a mushroom of a noble family and a valiant article, and not happy. Or the problem is no longer even in the mushroom ...