Aspen Milk (Poplar Milk) (Lactarius controversus) photo and description

Aspen Milk (Lactarius controversus)

  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Incertae sedis (undefined)
  • Order: Russulales
  • Family: Russulaceae (Russula)
  • Genus: Lactarius (Miller)
  • Species: Lactarius controversus (Aspen Milk (Poplar Milk))


  • Poplar Milk

  • Belyanka
  • Agaricus controversus

Aspen milk

Aspen milk mushroom ( lat.Lactarius controversus ) is a mushroom of the genus Mlechnik (lat.Lactarius) of the russula family (lat.Russulaceae).


Cap ∅ 6-30 cm, very fleshy and dense, flat-convex and slightly depressed in the center, in young mushrooms with slightly fluffy edges bent down. Then the edges are straightened and often become wavy. The skin is white or speckled with pink spots, covered with a fine fluff and in damp weather it is quite sticky, sometimes with noticeable concentric zones, very often covered with stuck earth and fragments of forest litter.

The pulp is whitish, dense and brittle, with a light fruity odor and a rather pungent taste. It produces abundant white milky juice, which does not change in air, and is bitter.

Stem 3-8 cm in height, strong, short, very dense and sometimes eccentric, often narrowed at the base, white or pinkish.

The plates are frequent, not wide, sometimes bifurcated and descending along the stem, cream or light pink

Spore powder pinkish, Spores 7 × 5 microns, almost round, folded, veiny, amyloid.


The color of the cap is white or with pink and lilac zones, often concentric. The plates are whitish at first, then they turn pink and finally turn light orange.

Ecology and distribution

Aspen milk mushroom forms mycorrhiza with willow, aspen and poplar. It grows in damp aspen and poplar forests, is quite rare, usually bears fruit in small groups.

Aspen milk mushroom is widespread in the warmer parts of the temperate climatic zone, in Russia it is found mainly in the Lower Volga region.

The season is July-October.

Similar species

It differs from other light mushrooms in pinkish plates, from white waves - in weak pubescence on the cap.

Food quality

A conditionally edible mushroom, used mainly in salted form, less often fried or boiled in main courses. Less valued than real and yellow milk.