Orange / Saffron Milkcap, Lactarius deterrimus / Lactarius deliciosus


Orange (or False Saffron Milkcaps) are very similar in appearance to Saffron Milkcaps (Lactarius deliciosus) with both being found under conifers. They are both edible, although Saffron Milkcaps are rarer, and considered to be the more tasty of the two!

Orange Milkcaps produce medium-sized fruit bodies with orange-brown caps up to 12cm wide that develop green spots in old age or if injured. Like the Saffron Milkcap, it produces an orange-coloured latex from it's gills that stains maroon after a little while. The main identifiable difference between this and the Saffron Milkcap is the stem - the stem of the Orange Mikcap is smooth, and lacks the orange-coloured pitting found on the Saffron Milkcap, and there's also a pale ring on the stem just under the cap, which is missing from it's more tastier cousin.

Orange / Saffron Milkcap Checklist


🌳 Deciduous or Mixed Woodland.
🌲 Coniferous Woodland.
🔗 Both grow under conifers. Orange Milkcaps are more commonly found under Spruce.

Fruiting Season

🌞🍂❄️ Between August and November

Growth Habit

📈 Singly or in small groups, mostly under conifers.


🍄 8-10cm wide. Orange with darker or lighter concentric lines. Both species have green patches, but Orange Milkcaps tend to have more 'greening' on their caps. Both species start convex but soon develop a depression in the middle, and become funnel-shaped.


⚛️ Brittle Orange gills that connect slightly to the stem (decurrent), fairly crowded and bruise green. The gills of both species emit an orange milk that turns dark red after a while - eventually turning green.


🟧🟥🟩 As Milkcaps, both species emit a milky substance from their gills when they are brushed with a finger. This milk is orange, but turns dark red after a while, then eventually turns green.


♊️ Orange Milkcaps have a smooth, orange stem and a pale ring where the stem meets the gills. Saffron Milkcaps are also orange, but have a pitted appearance and often lack the paler ring. Stems are often hollow.


⚪🟠 White, turning orange at the edges.


🟩 Both species turn green when bruised, damaged or cut.

Aroma / Taste

Orange Milkcaps have a good flavour, but are on occasion, slightly bitter. Saffron Milkcaps are excellent.

ID Notes

🟨 ID Difficulty - Novice
👀 The orange, green-staining cap colour, hollow stems and brittle gills are key identifying features of these mushrooms.
👀 The pitted stem is a key identifier of the Saffron Milkcap.
🤚 Both of these mushrooms emit an orange milky substance when a finger or thumb is brushed against their gills. This milk turns red, then green and is a key identifier.

⛔️ These mushrooms could be confused with the mildly toxic Woolly Milkcap.

☠ The Wooly Milkcap, Lactarius torminosus is a milk-producing mushroom that can share the same habitat as Orange / Saffton Milkcaps. It has, however, soft, ‘woolly’ cap edges and off-white, not orange, milk. It is also more pinkish in colour.

✅ Always check that the milky substance produced by the gills is orange, turning red, then green, to avoid confusion with other milkcaps.


🍄 Fungi - Used in mushroom recipes.