Boletales: Bolete Mushrooms
|West Coast Bolete Mushrooms
Porcini (Boletus Edulis)
Types of Mushrooms
Boletes, the common name for mushrooms in the Boletales order, cover an array of families and species.
Depending on whether physical, chemical and/or DNA properties serve as the organizing tool, Boletales classification changes. For present purposes, the term bolete is used rather loosely to refer to mushrooms with pores rather than gills under the cap. The listed gill bolete is the exception to the rule.
Most mushroom enthusiasts think Family Boletaceae when they think Boletales, with the Boletus genus receiving considerable culinary attention.
While many boletus species such as Boletus Edulis (Porcini or King Bolete) receive notice for their edibility, it would be a gastric mistake to assume the edibility of all boletes or boletus species.
With well over one hundred native North American bolete species, field identification can be difficult. Pileus (cap and hymenium), stipe size and color, along with other traits such as spore color and flesh bruisability serve as common field identification tools.
Three identification examples of boletes in three non-boletus genera start the identification discussion.
With a cap size often no larger than a dime or quarter, the Peppery Bolete (Chalciporus piperatus) grows world wide, in fog drenched conifer forests.
While an edibility caution often gets linked to the Peppery Bolete, its nickname, peppery, comes from its reputed taste.
The top picture highlights the orange (to brown) Hymenophore. The bottom picture highlights the duller cap and stipe.
Mushrooms in the genus Leccinum normally get identified by the presence of scabers on the stem, as highlighted by the mushroom in picture three.
The black spots or marks on the stem readily identifies it as a leccinum species.
Lack of consensus on Leccinum edibility exists, with many of the brown cap species, the birch bolete, for example, considered edible. Leccinum species with caps of other colors often get labeled as suspect.
Known for their colorful caps and stipes, along with a reddish spore print, Tylopilus species grow heartily in eastern North America.
Tylopilus porphyrosporus, a less common Pacific Northwest species, stands out for its chocolate cap, stipe and pores.
Many wildlife biologists became aware of its presence by documenting its existence on northern spotted owl territory.
It grows in associated with a handful of pines.
The majority of Boletaceae species grow in the Midwest and East. The listed species represent a small sample of West Coast species, including Suillus species.
The information presented should be used for comparative purposes only. No one guide, or picture, adequately serves as a basis for picking and consuming any wild mushroom.
For beginning mushroom enthusiasts, the best suggestion would be to refrain from eating any wild mushrooms. Take a picture, it will help you last longer.
© 2007-2012 Patricia A. Michaels