Lactarius rufulus  Peck (1907)                                                                             *Collections: California

This species is commonly referred to as the "Large Candy Cap" because it shares somewhat the odor of the regular small "Candy Cap", Lactarius rubidus. Yet the fragrance is less pronounced, more evanescent and also has a slightly different component to it, which one starts to recognize after having examined many fruitbodies. Another easy way to tell them apart is that the stipe of this species can be a lot thicker and mostly solid.  This species is very abundant later in the season, but seem to be restricted pretty much to Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia). The near absence of sphaerocysts (verified by me) is a well known microscopic characteristic. Unfortunately, starting with Peck's original description (based on dried material!) there has been a misconception that this species has no odor and the taste is acrid. Subsequent researchers seem to have copied that erroneous line without verifying it.  Arora did correctly point out the key characteristic of this species, but still new field guides emerge that have copied that old and erroneous information about the odor and taste.