Three new species of Lactarius sect. Deliciosi are described from montane central and southwestern China. Lactarius abieticola is associated with Abies trees. The pure orange basidiomata with only faint greenish discoloration resemble L. laeticolor, L. salmonicolor and L. thyinos, but the smaller size and whitish tomentum at the pileus margin make it different. Lactarius hengduanensis is similar to and closely related with L. deterrimus due to the orange latex and association with Picea trees. The contrast between the vivid orange stipe and paler lamellae and the spores with more reticulate ornamentation can be used to separate it from L. deterrimus. Lactarius pseudohatsudake has vinaceous red latex, similar to Asian L. hatsudake. The symbiotic relationship with Picea trees and crowded lamellae are differences from L. hatsudake. Comparison and phylogenetic analysis on the ITS sequences supported the three species to be distinct. The three new species are representative ectomycorrhizal fungi in the subalpine-alpine coniferous forests and putative choice edible mushrooms for the local people.
Culinary mushrooms, Eastern Himalayas, ectomycorrhizal fungi, firs, spruces