Cap 5-13 cm broad, convex, becoming centrally depressed and vase-shaped; margin incurved, sometimes upturned in age; surface viscid when moist; color variable: various shades of orange and green arranged in concentric zones, orange often fading, while green tones continue to develop, predominating at maturity; flesh yellowish-orange, when cut yielding an orange latex soon turning green; taste, slightly bitter.
Gills close, subdecurrent, orange, greenish in age, bleeding an orange latex that stains green.
Stipe 3-6 cm tall, 1.5-2.5 cm thick, equal to sometimes tapered at the base, orange, dry, occasionally with flattened pits (scrobiculations), bruising and staining green with age; veil absent.
Spores 7.5-11 x 6-7.5 µm, broadly elliptical, with amyloid reticulations. Spore print creamy-buff.
Solitary, scattered to gregarious under pines; fruiting from late fall to mid-winter.
Edible and good if cooked properly. Lactarius deliciosus requires long, slow cooking to eliminate the grainy texture and slightly bitter flavor. It is also good grilled.
According to Alexander Smith, Lactarius deliciosus is a species complex and no attempt is made here to separate the varieties. The species is easily recognized in the field by its vase-shaped fruiting body (at maturity), orange and green concentrically-zoned cap and orange latex which stains green and pine habitat. Lactarius rubrilacteus is similar but has a more reddish-orange cap and reddish latex and is usually associated with Douglas fir.