Elite life



   Boletus is the largest genus of boletes, containing over 150 species. The mushrooms in Boletus are boletes that do not typically have scabers or glandular dots on their stems. Their spore prints are olive brown to brown. They have solid stems, and their pores are not typically elongated and radial. Under the microscope, their spores are not ornamented. As far as edibility goes, some members of the genus Boletus are among the best edible mushrooms on the planet. Boletus edulis is collected across the globe; if you have ever had "porcini" mushrooms in a meal, you know how good this scrumptious edible is. There are many members of Boletus that are edible - a few of which are as good as Boletus edulis and, unfortunately, there are some poisonous species.


King Bolete, Penny Bun, Porcini, Cep (Boletus edulis)

   This mushroom is known world-wide as one of the best edibles. It is called the cep in France, the Steinpilz in Germany, porcini in Italy, and the "king bolete" in English speaking countries. It has many close relatives and varieties, most of which are almost indistinguishable in their excellence. It has a characteristic shape (with a swollen base), reticulation on the stem, and its cap has a characteristic texture - like a very well buffed, soft, sticky leather. Its white to olive yellow pores do not bruise blue when injured.
   Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers, especially spruce and (in some locations) with hardwoods; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; summer and fall; widely distributed. In North America this mushroom is more common from the Rocky Mountains westward, but is occasional in the east.
   Cap: 8-30 cm, convex in the button stage, becoming broadly convex to nearly flat; tacky when wet; smooth, like well buffed leather; light brown to brown to dark vinaceous brown (sometimes nearly red).
   Pore Surface: Whitish at first, becoming yellow to olive; tubes same; pores tightly packed at first; not bruising or, in age, bruising olive. Stem: 8-20 cm long; 2-10 cm thick at apex; usually club-shaped to nearly club-shaped when young (rarely equal), club-shaped to equal; finely reticulate over at least the upper half; white, or white below and brownish above.
   Flesh: White, solid, unchanging; sometimes tinged with rose shades near the cap surface and around worm holes; rarely discoloring slightly blue near the tubes.


Queen Bolete, Bronzy Bolete (Boletus aereus)

   Boletus tus aereus is a close relative of Boletus edulis (King Bolete, Porcini). Although usually smaller and less common than its better known cousin, Boletus aereus is considered by many mycophagists to be equal in quality as table-fare. It is distinguished from the King Bolete by habitat preference--mixed hardwood/conifer woods in contrast to mostly pines for Boletus edulis, a whitish bloom in youth, and a more equal stipe at maturity. Boletus edulis differs additionally in having a cap margin that slightly overlaps the tube layer.
  Pileus: Cap 7.0-14.0 (17) cm broad, convex, expanding to plano-convex; margin incurved, later decurved to nearly plane, not overlapping the tube layer; surface moist, more or less glabrous when young, becoming irregularly pitted or wrinkled; color at first unevenly buff-brown to pale chestnut-brown, overlain initially with a whitish bloom, in age becoming medium-brown to dark-brown, subviscid when moist; context up to 2.0 cm thick white, unchanging, firm in youth, soft at maturity, tinged pinkish-vinaceous below the cuticle, sometimes yellowish above the tube layer; odor and taste mild.
   Hymenophore: Pores up to 3 mm when young, stuffed, approximately 1 mm in age, whitish, becoming cream-colored to dull pale-yellow, eventually dingy yellowish-olive, not bluing, darkening slightly where handled; tubes up to 2.0 cm long, occasionally discoloring brownish when cut, not bluing, depressed at the stipe.
   Stipe: Stipe 7.0-13.0 cm long, 3.0-4.0 cm thick, solid, clavate to ventricose in youth, subclavate to equal at maturity; surface of apex reticulate, whitish, elsewhere glabrous to faintly wrinkled; context of stipe, not bluing, but darkening slightly when cut; partial veil absent.
   Spores: Spores 11.5-13.5 x 3.5-4.5 mm, smooth, thin-walled, narrowly ellipsoid in face-view, hilar appendage inconspicuous, one to several guttules; spore print dull olive-brown.
   Habitat: Solitary to scattered in mixed hardwood/conifer forests; fruiting shortly after the fall rains.

Summer Cep, Summer Bolete (Boletus aestivalis, Boletus reticulatus)

   The Summer cep is found in woods throughout Europe, after hot and humid weather, from the start of summer until the end of autumn. It is particularly common in the south and west of France. These are mushrooms whose tubed hymenium can be easily separated from the flesh of the hat, with a relatively thick central foot and compact flesh. They have a round cap which becomes convex as they age. They are easily distinguished by the browny-red colour of the cap and by the stalk with a white pattern on a reddish background.
   The summer cep is a mushroom with a bulbous stem, large cap (5 to 20 cm in diameter) with a brown to dark brown cuticle. In dry weather, the caps often crack giving the appearance of a fine net as the pale flesh is revealed. The tubes and pores are initially white, darkening with age to pale yellow and then brown. They have a central stipe (13-16 cm tall) which has a strongly marked reticulated pattern and is colored brown, sometimes even as intense as the cap colour. The darker shade is a key feature distinguishing this species from B. edulis. The flesh is white and thick and remains firm if yellowish as the mushroom ages and is often attacked by insect larvae. Its odour is pleasant.


Royal Bolete, Butter Bolete (Boletus regius)

   Boletus regius is a beautiful, robust bolete with an aspect similar to Boletus edulis.  A notable difference, however, is that Boletus regius has a rose-pink cap while Boletus edulis has a brownish cap. Additionally, the pore surface and stipe reticulation of Boletus regius are yellowish, compared to pallid in Boletus edulis. A final distinction is the tendency for the pores of Boletus regius to blue, a feature absent in Boletus edulis. Spring fruitings of Boletus regius in the Sierra should be compared with Boletus pinophilus, a close relative of Boletus edulis, and the occasional fruiting of Boletus rubripes. Boletus pinophilus has a somewhat similarly colored cap when young, pinkish-brown to dull rusty-brown, but the pore surface in youth is pallid not lemon-yellow and the stipe reticulation light-brown over a cream-colored background. Boletus rubripes is easily distinguished by the lack of a reticulated stipe and a bitter taste. In coastal forests Boletus regius is often confused with a close relative, Boletus appendiculatus. The latter, however, has a rusty-brown to yellowish-brown cap as opposed to rose-pink in Boletus regius.
   Pileus: Cap 8.0-15.0 (20) cm broad, strongly convex, expanding to plano-convex; margin incurved, becoming decurved to plane in age; surface subviscid when moist, otherwise dry, with irregular bumps, pits and depresssion, at first ornamented with patches of appressed fibrils, these often wearing away in age, then appearing glabrous; color rose-red to pale-pink, quickly fading with exposure to light to various combinations of buff, tan, or dull pale-yellow; context lemon-yellow, firm, up to 2.5 cm thick, slowly bluing when cut or injured, bluing reaction strongest just above the tube layer; odor mild; taste mild, pleasant.
   Hymenophore: Pores lemon-yellow when young, 2-3 per mm, maturing to dingy-yellowish with a slight olivaceous tint, 1-2 per mm in age, bluing when bruised; tubes adnate in attachment, becoming depressed in age, up to 2.5 cm long, pale-yellow, bluing like the pores.
   Stipe: Stipe 5.0-9.0 cm long, 3.0-4.0 cm thick at apex, clavate to sub-bulbous, solid, fleshy; surface of upper half conspicuously reticulate, the ornamentation and background color yellowish, sometimes becoming pallid, occasionally bluing when young; cortex yellowish, otherwise white, unchanging, often reddish at the base; partial veil absent.
   Spores: Spores 13.0-15.5 x 4.0-5.0 mm, elliptical to slightly spindle-shaped in face-view, smooth, thin-walled; spore print olive-brown.
   Habitat: Solitary, scattered to clustered, spring and fall under conifers in the Sierra, and in mixed confer-hardwood forests along the coast during the fall, possibly also in the spring.


White King Bolete (Boletus barrowsii)

   The white king bolete is ectomycorrhizal, found under Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) inland Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) closer to the west coast. Fruiting bodies appear after rain, and will be more abundant if this occurs in early autumn rather than later in the year through to winter. It is abundant in the warmer parts of its range, namely Arizona and New Mexico, but also occurs in Colorado and west into California. It has been recorded from the San Marcos Foothills in Santa Barbara County.
   The cap is 6-25 cm (2-10 in) in diameter, initially convex in shape before flattening, with a smooth or slightly tomentose surface, and gray-white, white or buff colour. The thick flesh is white and does not turn blue when bruised. The pores are initially whitish, later yellow. The spore print is olive brown, the spores are elliptical to spindle-shaped and 13-15 x 4-5 μm in dimensions. The stout stipe is white with a brown reticulated pattern, and may be 6-20 cm (2½-8 in) high with an apical diameter of 2-6 cm (1-2 in). Like B. edulis, it is often found eaten by maggots.

Boletus subglabripes

   Habitat singly, scattered or in groups under coniferous and deciduous trees. Common. Found in southwestern North America, especially abundant in New Mexico and Arizona. Season August-January. Edible excellent.
   Singer Cap 4-10 cm across, convex then expanding to almost plane; light brown to rich cinnamon, yellow-brown, or reddish brown; dry, glabrous to slightly viscid when wet. Tubes deeply depressed around stem; lemon yellow to olive-yellow. Pores yellow to amber yellow, not changing on injury. Stem 50-100 x 10-20 mm, even and tapered at the base; pale to bright yellow, occasionally staining reddish at base; entire surface covered with scurfy, scabrous squamules (never reticulate), dry, often with distinct white mycelial remains at base. Flesh pale to bright lemon yellow, sometimes faintly blue on cutting. Odor not distinctive. Taste mild to slightly acidic. Spores subfusiform, smooth, (11)12-14(17) x 3-3.5(5) mm. Deposit pale olive-brown.

Red-Cracked Bolete (Boletus chrysenteron)

   Solitary to gregarious in soil in mixed forests. This bolete has been found in many different areas within the state, and probably occurs throughout the forested areas, including those of southern California. Apparently it forms mycorrhizal associations with a broad spectrum of hosts, since it has been found in both coniferous and broad-leaved forests. It is likely to be found more or less continuously, but never abundantly, from early in the fall season through February.
   Pileus: Cap 4-9 cm broad, convex, becoming nearly plane in age; surface dry, tomentose, dark brown to olive brown, soon areolate, the exposed context pallid at the disc, pinkish near the margin; flesh white, thick, sometimes blueing when bruised; odor mild, taste acidic.
   Hymenophore: Pores relatively large, 1-2 mm, yellow, olive-brown in age, typically bruising blue.
   Stipe: Stipe 5-10 cm tall, 1.0-1.5 cm thick, dry, smooth to longitudinally ridged, yellowish, with reddish tints usually predominating at the base.
   Spores: Spores 11.5-14.0 x 4-6 μm, smooth, elliptical to fusiform; spore print olive-brown.

Lurid Bolete (Boletus luridus)

   Boletus luridus is found under beech, lime and oak trees, mainly in areas of chalky soil. It is sometimes mistakenly identified as Boletus satanus; both of these species are poisonous. Season July to late October.
  Cap: Immature specimens, such as the one shown here, are downy and pale yellow. As the fruiting body matures, the cap, which expands to between  8 and 14 cm (exceptionally 20 cm) in diameter, becomes dull yellow-brown. The yellow cap flesh turns blue-black if it is cut or bruised.
  Tubes and Pores: Beneath the cap, yellow spore tubes terminate in tiny circular pores that are at first yellow but eventually turn orange-red. When cut or bruised, the tubes and pores rapidly turn blue-black before fading to pale blue.
  Stipe: 1.5 to 4 cm in diameter and 5 to 10 cm tall, the swollen stem turns dark blue when cut and then fades back to a light blue colour, as seen here. The flesh near the base of the stem is deep yellow with red tinges. The surface of the stem is yellow, covered with a red mesh patterning everywhere except for the  top of the stem, which remains yellow.
  Spore print: Olive-brown.


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