• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • Preliminary Assessed
  • LCAssessed
  • Published

Lactarius rubidus (Hesler & A.H. Sm.) Methven

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Scientific name
Lactarius rubidus
(Hesler & A.H. Sm.) Methven
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Proposed by
Noah Siegel
Noah Siegel
Anders Dahlberg

Assessment Notes


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).

Taxonomic notes

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.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

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.

Geographic 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.

Population and Trends

The population size is large, occurring over a widespread area, and is stable. There is no indication of any decline.

Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology

Ectomycorrhizal, growing with a number of different tree associates (Pinus spp., Quercus spp., Pseudotsuga menziesii,  Notholithocarpus densiflorus).

Temperate Forest


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.

Conservation Actions

No conservation measures are needed for this species since it is widespread and there are no major threats.

Research needed

Use and Trade

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.

Food - human


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.

Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted