Lactarius Indigo

This blue mushroom received so much interest, deservedly, on my earlier post that I thought I’d pass along some info about it.   As I said in reply to a comment, it was almost otherworldly.   Such a stunning find.   Below is info from Wikipedia.
Anyone care to suggest a symbolic significance? 
Couple of things to take into account:   1) it is not common in northern Minnesota, where I encountered it.  2) It’s symbiotic relationship with trees  3) it’s Edibility  4)  found around the world  5)  Of course, the stunning indigo coloration.   [you should be able to click the photos to get a more vibrant view)

from Wikipedia: 

Lactarius indigo, commonly known as the indigo milk cap, the indigo (or blue) Lactarius, or the blue milk mushroom, is a species of agaric fungus in the family Russulaceae. A widely distributed species, it grows naturally in eastern North America, East Asia, and Central America; it has also been reported in southern France.

Lactarius indigo is distributed throughout southern and eastern North America, but is most common along the Gulf Coast, Mexico, and Guatemala. Its frequency of appearance in the Appalachian Mountains of the United States has been described as “occasional to locally common”.[8] Mycologist David Arora notes that in the United States, the species is found with ponderosa pine in Arizona, but is absent in California’s ponderosa pine forests.[35] It has also been collected from China,[32] India,[36][37] Guatemala,[38] and Costa Rica (in forests dominated by oak).[39] In Europe, it has so far only been found in southern France.[40] A study on the seasonal appearance of fruiting bodies in the subtropical forests of Xalapa, Mexico, confirmed that maximal production coincided with the rainy season between June and September.[41]

L. indigo grows on the ground in both deciduous and coniferous forests, where it forms mycorrhizal associations with a broad range of trees.

Lactarius indigo is a mycorrhizal fungus, and as such, establishes a mutualistic relationship with the roots of certain trees (“hosts”), in which the fungi exchange minerals and amino acids extracted from the soil for fixed carbon from the host. The subterranean hyphae of the fungus grow a sheath of tissue around the rootlets of a broad range of tree species, forming so-called ectomycorrhizae—an intimate association that is especially beneficial to the host, as the fungus produces enzymes that mineralize organic compounds and facilitate the transfer of nutrients to the tree.[42]

The fruit body color ranges from dark blue in fresh specimens to pale blue-gray in older ones. The milk, or latex, that oozes when the mushroom tissue is cut or broken—a feature common to all members of the Lactarius genus—is also indigo blue, but slowly turns green upon exposure to air.

The cap has a diameter of 5 to 15 cm (2 to 6 in), and the stem is 2 to 8 cm (0.8 to 3 in) tall and 1 to 2.5 cm (0.4 to 1.0 in) thick.

It is an edible mushroom, and is sold in rural markets in China, Guatemala, and Mexico.

The firm flesh is best prepared by cutting the mushroom in thin slices. The blue color disappears with cooking, and the mushroom becomes grayish. Because of the granular texture of the flesh, it does not lend itself well to drying. Specimens producing copious quantities of milk may be used to add color to marinades.

A chemical analysis of Mexican specimens has shown L. indigo to contain 95.1% moisture, 4.3 mg of fat per gram of mushroom (mg/g), and 13.4 mg/g protein. There is 18.7 mg/g of dietary fiber, much higher in comparison to the common button mushroom, which contains 6.6 mg/g. Compared to three other wild edible mushroom species also tested in the study (Amanita rubescens, Boletus frostii, and Ramaria flava), L. indigo contained the highest saturated fatty acids content, including stearic acid with 32.1 mg/g—slightly over half of the total free fatty acid content.[33]


Lactarius indigo is a delicious edible mushroom– and fun to eat. There are very few blue foods. Even blueberries are not really blue, but purple!…. there’s just one natural blue food that I know — blue corn!… Lactarius indigo is delicious simply sautéed in butter, but the most fun way I have prepared them is in an omelet with or with scrambled eggs. You can guess what this does to the eggs– it turns them green!! Green eggs are lots of fun to have, especially for kids. You’re on your own for the green ham.

George Carlin video:
Where’s the blue food?

guess I should have eaten that mushroom!!!

4 thoughts on “Lactarius Indigo

  1. The only symbolic significance I can immediately come up with is that organisms depend on each other for survival. Although not always apparent and quite often surprising it might behove us to recognise that in all living forms before we annihilate what we consider unimportant. Best I can do on short notice. 😉

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