Indigo Milk Mushroom

One never knows what a day will bring. Today while I was walking to the mailbox, I noticed a grayish-blue object lying on the lawn. I thought that it was one of the kids' toys, so I reached down and picked it up. I quickly realized that it wasn't a plaything- but a mushroom- a mushroom with bright blue gills. It was also unexpectedly heavy. The weight seemed to be due to its thick rubbery cap.

I had found the Lactarius indigo which literally means 'Milky Blue'. In fact, one of its common names is Indigo Milk Mushroom. It is known as the "milk mushroom" because of its production of a blue latex like liquid when it is cut or harshly bruised. (source)

The Lactarius indigo isn't a common mushroom- but it is widespread- it can be found throughout the eastern half of North America growing beneath various oak tree species. The Lactarius indigo that is pictured here is of the one that I found growing in the moss beneath a Post Oak tree on July 30, 2009.

Lactarius indigo mushrooms are edible which makes for a fascinating topic- there are very few naturally occurring blue food products! This mushroom will definitely brighten up a meal. So, how do you cook them? One mushroom expert reported that they are quite good sauteed with butter. Another commented that they are "edible and delicious. One of my favorite edibles." (source) But, as with any mushroom species- be very careful with the identification- as in- be absolutely certain of its identification and edibility.


The Old Gray Egg said...

Wow. That is a totally new one to me. I wonder whether their range extends into the north central midwest. I'll never cease to be amazed at the variety of unnoticed life forms living right under our noses.

Eve said...

Wow that is great Daniel! Now with the news that "blue" foods help...what was it paralysis...maybe they should use that instead of blue m&m's!! Well, maybe the m&m's would be a little more pleasing!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Only our Daniel would find such a thing in his front yard. Why, I do believe all these fascinating fungi, creatures, insects and flora are seeking you out. You're, like, the Nature's Got Talent guy...

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Thanks for the comments Graig, Eve, and Debi! This blue mushroom was new to me as well. I kind of feel like I am in the Matrix- we (the kids and I) find a bright red mushroom one day (the American Caesar)- and a vivid blue mushroom the next- and they are both edible- so- which to choose- the red or the blue? :)

I hope you visit again Graig- it is always nice to have a scientist check in on the site. I have a friend, Dr. Ron Van Houten, a Zoologist, that also helps out with this site. Regarding the range of Lactarius indigo mushroom- one website indicated that it could be found throughout the US and Canada- I did see photos from Wisconsin and Ontario- however, the greatest concentration seems to be in the Southeast.

Thanks again to all for stopping by- and thanks Eve and Debi for your constant encouragement!

Jarrod Franklin said...

Hi, I did a search looking for this mushroom after I found a very large one in Brown County State Park in Indiana. Lo and behold, the next day while mowing my yard, I found another one! Really bizarre, surprised to hear that it is edible.


Lala said...

Hey, Old Grey Egg--we found these today, in Rock Bridge State Park, in Columbia, MO. They were in a very big stand of cedars/pines. We have never seen so many mushrooms before! We just kept walking, and pointing, and saying "Look at THIS one!", in between picking even more Chanterelles (our 3rd time out this month).

amy said...

My family and I hiked in the McDowell Nature Preserve today in Charlotte NC, and found several of these wonderful mushrooms. Just wanted everyone to know where they can be located.. They are so awesome and surprising to come across.


Anonymous said...

Hello daniel

I am writing an article about the colour blue. I found your pics about the blue mushroom and would like to use them in my article if you agree.

Could you send me a message at:
meken at to tell if yes or no?
I would appreciate it very much.

Kind regards

MJR said...

We just found one of these in mid Michigan on July 19, 2014. It was on a lightly traveled path in an oak forest! Beautiful- and quite large, though we won't try to eat it. Thanks for your post!

Anonymous said...

Hi, we have been seeing them this summer at Reedy Creek park in Charlotte, NC, where weave also seen a few American Caesars...too cool!