Bolete Mushroom: Key Facts

Did you know that there are hundreds of bolete mushrooms found throughout the world? Or that some of them are healthy for you while others will make you sick? Keep reading to learn more about these and other bolete mushroom key facts! 

Quick Facts About Bolete Mushrooms

Scientific Name:Boletales
Type of Organism:Fungus: Mushroom
Number of Species:Over 300
Physical Description:Stemmed mushrooms that belong to various genera. They are roughly umbrella-shaped, and most have a spongy porous surface instead of gills. Stems are often covered in scabers or reticulation, and the caps of some are covered in a gelatinous coating. Exact coloring and appearance varies by species. Many boletes grow from the ground under trees, while others grow on decaying wood. 
Distribution:Found on every continent except Antarctica.
Habitat:Primarily deciduous and conifer forests, depending on species. Prefers moist, mild, shady environments and has mycorrhizal relationship with various tree species.
Season:Most common in late summer and early fall.
Size:Varies widely by species; largest bolete mushrooms can grow up to 10 inches wide and weigh nearly 6 pounds.
Edible?Many varieties are edible.
Medicinal?Some have health benefits due to antioxidant levels and cholesterol-lowering properties.

What is the Difference Between Boletes and Other Kinds of Mushrooms?

There are several different genera of bolete mushrooms, including the Boletus, Tylopilus, and Suillus. Each of these genera are further divided into species.

There are many, many species of bolete mushrooms–over 300, to be a little more specific. So, you may be wondering, why are they all called bolete mushrooms? What characteristics tie them together?

The term “bolete mushroom” loosely refers to mushrooms that have pores or tubes instead of gills. If you were to look at the underside of a bolete mushroom’s cap, you would notice the surface looks rather sponge-like, full of tiny holes instead of the gills you might expect to see.

This distinction generally sets bolete mushrooms apart from all the rest.

That said, there are exceptions to the rule. A few of these mushrooms have gills, such as the appropriately named gilled bolete.

Are Bolete Mushrooms Edible?

Bolete mushrooms can be found throughout the world in temperate forests. Most are native to the Northern Hemisphere, though some can be found in the southern hemisphere as well.

Many of these bolete species are edible. Some, such as the king bolete, are highly desirable because of their mild, nutty, earthy flavor and unique sourdough aroma.

Some species are also highly nutritious. They may have a high antioxidant content, a number of vitamins and minerals, or excellent levels of fiber and protein. You can check some recipes here.

That said, not all boletes are edible. Some contain toxins that can give you a stomach ache or cause other unpleasant digestive symptoms.

If you’re new to hunting for bolete mushrooms, have a more experienced forager or mushroom expert check your harvest. Avoid harvesting mushrooms that have red or pink pores or markings on them.

You should never eat a mushroom unless you are absolutely sure of its identity and edibility.

Check out this video to learn more about edible bolete mushrooms:


Most bolete mushrooms have pores instead of gills underneath their caps. There are over 300 different species of boletes, many of which are edible and highly nutritious (and animals love them, too). That said, some of them are poisonous, so it’s important to verify the identity of your harvest before eating these mushrooms.

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