Horny Goat Weed (Lactarius rufus) photo and description

Horny Goat Weed (Lactarius rufus)

  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Incertae sedis (undefined)
  • Order: Russulales
  • Family: Russulaceae (Russula)
  • Genus: Lactarius (Miller)
  • Species: Lactarius rufus (Horny Goat Weed)
    Other names for the mushroom:

  • Bitter
  • Red bitter
  • Path


  • Horny Goat Weed

  • Bitter milk

  • Gorchak

  • Goryanka

  • Path


Horny Goat Weed (lat. Lactarius rufus ) is a mushroom of the genus Millechnik (Lactarius) of the family Russulaceae.


Bitter's hat up to 12 cm in diameter, flat-convex, funnel-shaped with age, fleshy, dry, red-brown, matte, with a sharp tubercle in the middle, around which it is depressed. It is characteristic that in mature specimens it is colored dark red or red-brown. Lighter circular areas are sometimes possible. The surface is finely grooved, has a dull matte color.

Bitter pulp is thin, with a resinous wood scent. The milky juice is pungent, pungent, white, very abundant. The plates are narrow, frequent, at first reddish-yellow, later reddish-brown, in old age with a whitish bloom, slightly descending along the stem. The spore powder is whitish.

The leg of the Horny Goat Weed is up to 10 cm long, up to 2 cm thick, cylindrical, white-tomentose, has pubescence at the base, solid at a young age, later hollow. Young mushrooms have a whitish surface, older ones are pinkish or rusty-red. The leg can be painted in the same way as the cap.



The word rufus in the name of the mushroom means "redhead".


Horny Goat Weed, like an edible mushroom, is often referred to the fourth category. It is used in salted and pickled form after preliminary processing - thorough boiling or soaking. In saline, it becomes dark brown.

In medicine

Horny Goat Weed (Lactarius rufus) contains an antibiotic substance that negatively affects a number of bacteria and inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus cultures.

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