Medium to large fawn to pale pinkish-brown velvety, dry convex cap with inrolled margin, becoming slightly roughened, flat then slightly funnel-shaped with a shallow depressed central disc. White to pale pinkish-cinnamon close, narrow gills of varying lengths, subdecurrent and often forked at stem apex. Stem is long relative to width of the cap, pruinose and paler than cap color. Has clear, watery latex that is moderate to scanty in volume, and that doesn’t change color or stain. Spore print is buff. Grows in damp areas and in sphagnum moss under conifers and birch in summer and fall. Taste is mild. Smells of camphor, maple syrup, fenugreek or curry, especially on drying. Flesh is light pinkish or brownish.Mild tasting.
The more red-brown Lactarius quietus var. incanus also has an odor of maple syrup, but is more common in the southern states and its latex is white. Species names means 'honey-yellow'. Toxic when eaten raw. Another lookalike is Lactarius camphoratus, which is much smaller.