Lactarius rubidius is widespread over a large area in western USA. Although it’s a popular edible mushroom, and is commonly harvested, there is no evidence of decline: It can be locally abundant where suitable habitat exists. Therefore, it is assessed as Least Concern (LC).
Described as Lactarius fragilis var. rubidus in Hesler & Smith (1979), elevated to species rank by Methven (1997), formally published by Kuo et.al. (2013).
Lactarius camphoratus and L. fragilis were misapplied names.
Lactarius rubidus is a common species from the pacific states of USA; occurring from Santa Barbara County, California, north into Washington. It is commonly collected, as an edible species across the range.
Occurring from Santa Barbara County, California, north into Washington; mostly in coastal and coast range forests. Also in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in California. There is a single disjunct record from San Diego, CA. It is most common in the range of Tanoak (Notholithocarpus densiflorus) in California and southwest Oregon, and Bishop Pine (Pinus muricata) and Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) in both their native and non-native habitat in California. The populations at northern and southern parts of the range are more disjointed and localized.
The population size is large, occurring over a widespread area, and is stable. There is no indication of any decline.
Population Trend: Stable
Ectomycorrhizal, growing with a number of different tree associates (Pinus spp., Quercus spp., Pseudotsuga menziesii, Notholithocarpus densiflorus).
No global threat are identified. Locally, the decline of Tanoak due to Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum) alters habitat, but is often replaced with an alternative host, Douglas-fir. Although this species in collected as a prized edible in much of the range, no decline in abundance from over harvesting has been observed.
No conservation measures are needed for this species since it is widespread and there are no major threats.
A highly prized edible, used mostly in desserts (cookies, ice cream, etc). When dried it has a strong aroma of and flavor of maple sugar. An ounce (28 g) of dried mushrooms sells for ~$20.00 USD.
Hesler, L.R. & Smith, A.H. (1979). North American Species of Lactarius. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, MI. 841 p.
Kuo, M., Methven, A.S., Minnis, A.M. & Halling, R.E. (2013). Studies of North American macrofungi, 1. Validation of Lactarius rubidus comb. nov. and Leccinellum quercophilum sp. nov. Mycotaxon 124(1): 323-332.
Methven, A.S. (1997). The Agaricales (Gilled Fungi) of California. 10. Russulaceae II. Lactarius. Mad River Press: Eureka, CA. 79 p.