Fresh Lobster Mushrooms

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Hypomyces lactifluorum

The Lobster mushroomHypomyces lactifluorum, contrary to its common name, is not a mushroom, but rather a parasitic ascomycete fungus that grows on certain species of mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color that resembles the outer shell of a cooked lobster. H. lactifluorum specifically attacks members of the genera Lactarius and Lactifluus (milk-caps), and Russula (brittlegills), such as Russula brevipes and Lactifluus piperatus in North America. At maturity, H. lactifluorum thoroughly covers its host, rendering it unidentifiable. Lobster mushrooms are widely eaten and enjoyed; they are commercially marketed and are commonly found in some large grocery stores. They have a seafood-like flavor and a firm, dense texture. 

Lobster mushroom
Lobster mushrooms.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Sordariomycetes
Order: Hypocreales
Family: Hypocreaceae
Genus: Hypomyces
Species: H. lactifluorum
Binomial name
Hypomyces lactifluorum
(Schwein.Tul. & C.Tul.



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