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FunDiS West Coast Rare Fungi Challenge

Prepared by: Christin Swearingen, Tiffany Theden, Alex Mayberry & Roo Vandegrift
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This large buff colored milk-cap is only documented from two locations in the vicinity of Cordova, Alaska, in 1964 and 1967. It got its name in 1979. In both locations it grows in Hemlock and Spruce forests near glaciers. It’s large size and distinctive appearance would make it difficult to overlook, however very little potential habitat for this species has been explored for mushrooms.
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Description

The Cordova Milky is large (75-133+ mm) and its pale pink to buff caps stand out in the mossy forest floor. The cap also has concentric rings and fragile flesh, that exudes a creamy white latex that stains violet when exposed to the air. The stem is pockmarked and hollow. The flesh is beige before staining violet, and the taste is mild or with a slight sharpness.

What else could it be?

The Cordova Milky is very similar in character to Lactarius uvidus, which is common in northern coastal forests. The two species can be distinguished by size, with the L. uvidus being smaller (cap of 60-80mm) than L. cordovaensis.

Never eat wild mushrooms without a confident identification!

Contact Poison Control if you think you have eaten a poisonous mushroom: 1-800-222-1222

When & Where?

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Habitat

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More information

Siegel, N. 2019. Lactarius cordovaensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T95384525A95385504. Downloaded on 20 July 2021.
doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T95384525A95385504.en.

Siegel, N. 2014. Lactarius cordovaensis. Mycota of Alaska.
alaskamycoflora.org/genera/lactarius/lactarius-cordovaensis.php

Siegel, N. 2014. Lactarius uvidus. Mycota of Alaska. 
alaskamycoflora.org/genera/lactarius/lactarius-uvidus.php

iNaturalist (0 obs.):
inaturalist.org/taxa/1159373-Lactarius-cordovaensis

Mushroom Observer (0 obs.): mushroomobserver.org/name/show_name/44643

What to do if you find it:

Make an observation

The first thing to do is to record your observation. We prefer to use the iNaturalist app for that (visit www.iNaturalist.org to learn more), but you could also upload your observation to Mushroom Observer (visit www.MushroomObserver.org). The QR code to the right will take you to the Fungal Diversity Survey (FunDiS for short) website on how to “Contribute Observations” to the project. The best thing you can do is take lots of photographs and notes. Typically, smartphones will automatically georeference any photos taken, but it is good practice to note your exact location, preferably with GPS coordinates, and be sure to note what trees are nearby, and any other salient features. For example, was the mushroom growing under a hemlock, or a Douglas fir? Did it have a particular smell?

Collect a specimen

If you are in an area where it is allowed and have any necessary permits, we strongly urge you to create a vouchered collection. This means a dried specimen for deposit in a herbarium, where researchers can access it for things like DNA sequencing; just a couple ‘wings’ are all you need for this large mushroom. If you don’t know how to do this, please see: 

         fundis.org/sequence/sequence/dry-your-specimens 

In California, collecting mushrooms is usually allowed in National Forests with a permit. Permits can be obtained at the headquarters of the National Forest you're visiting, and are usually inexpensive or free. However, restrictions vary among the individual National Forests, so make sure to find out the specifics when picking up your permit. In Oregon and Washington, you are typically allowed to collect one gallon without a permit on most public lands; but not all, so be sure to check! In BC, collecting is allowed on Crown land without a permit, but it’s illegal to pick mushrooms in a provincial or national park.

Don’t foget to look for other mushrooms and fungi while you’re there! Since you’ve already got iNaturalist open, why not record your other finds?

Most mushrooms are like fruit: picking an apple from an apple tree doesn’t hurt the tree. In the same way, harvesting mushrooms does not generally hurt the mycelium of the fungus. We do still recommend leaving some mushrooms behind, and not picking perennial mushrooms, like brackets and conks.

Who to contact

If you think you’ve found this mushroom, and you’re not sure about any of the above, such as how to report the find, whether you can collect it, or what to do with it once you have collected it, please contact us! 

      WestCoast_Rare@fundis.org

About Fungal Diversity Survey

FunDiS is dedicated to a world in which the fungal kingdom is fully documented, understood, appreciated and protected.