Pepper Milk (Lactarius piperatus) photo and description

Pepper Milk (Lactarius piperatus)

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


  • Lactifluus piperatus

Pepper milk

Pepper milk ( lat.Lactarius piperatus ) is a mushroom of the genus Millechnik (lat.Lactarius) of the family


The cap ∅ 6-18 cm, at first slightly convex, then more and more funnel-shaped, in young specimens with bent edges, which then straighten and become wavy. The skin is creamy white, matte, often covered with reddish spots and cracks in the central part of the cap, smooth or slightly velvety.

The pulp is white, dense, brittle, very sharp in taste. When cut, it releases a caustic milky sap of white color, slightly yellowing or does not change color upon drying. The FeSO4 solution stains the pulp in a creamy pink color; under the action of alkalis (KOH) it does not change the color.

Leg 4-8 cm in height, ∅ 1.2-3 cm, white, solid, very dense and with a narrowing at the base, its surface is smooth, slightly wrinkled.

The plates are narrow, frequent, descending along the pedicle, sometimes bifurcated, there are many short plates.

Spore powder white, spores 8.5 × 6.5 μm, ornamented, almost round, amyloid.


The color of the cap is completely white or creamy. The plates are first white, then cream. The leg is white, with time it often becomes covered with ocher spots.

Ecology and distribution

Peppermilk is a mycorrhizal forming agent with many trees. A common mushroom. Grows in rows or circles in damp and shaded deciduous and mixed forests, much less often in conifers. Prefers well-drained clay soils. Found in the middle lane, less common to the north.

The season is summer — autumn.

Similar species

  • The violin (Lactarius vellereus) and the aspen milk mushroom (Lactarius controversus) are conditionally edible mushrooms with buffy plates.
  • glaucous mushroom (Lactarius glaucescens) with white milky juice, when dry, becomes grayish-greenish. The milky juice of L. glaucescens turns yellow from a drop of KOH.

Food quality

It is often considered inedible because of its very pungent taste, although it can be consumed as conditionally edible after careful processing to remove bitterness, it is only salted. Mushrooms can be eaten 1 month after pickling. It is also sometimes dried, ground into powder and used as a hot seasoning instead of pepper.

Healing properties

Peppermilk has a depressing effect on the tubercle bacillus. In folk medicine, this mushroom, in a slightly fried form, was used to treat kidney stone disease. Pepper milk is also used in the treatment of cholelithiasis, blennorrhea, acute purulent conjunctivitis.