There are many types of bolete mushroom. Some are edible, while others are not. If you want to learn more about the different genera, keep reading! We’ll discuss the identifying characteristics of the most common boletes, as well as which ones are edible and inedible.
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Types of Bolete Mushrooms
There are many hundreds of species of bolete mushrooms in several different genera. They come in many variations, sizes, and colors.
The main characteristic that ties them together is that most boletes are sponglike, with pores under their caps instead of gills. They have a spongy texture and tend to feel a little greasy.
Nearly all of them grow in forested areas as well. They are mycorrhizal, meaning they develop symbiotic relationships with specific types of trees.
Let’s take a look at the different types of bolete mushrooms by genus.
The largest group of bolete mushrooms is the Boletus genus. There are around 300 individual Boletus species.
Many of the mushrooms in this genus are edible and quite tasty. Others are edible but taste bad, and still others are toxic.
The most well-known Boletus mushroom is B. edulis. This mushroom has many common names, including king bolete, penny bun, and porcini.
Most boletus mushrooms have a large, round, hamburger-bun-like cap and thick, bulbous stem. They may come in different colors, but gray, brown, and orange are common.
Boletus mushrooms grow widespread throughout the world. They prefer to grow near pine trees of various kinds.
There are around 75 mushroom species in the Leccinum genus. These mushrooms have several distinctive features.
First, their stems are typically coated in rough, almost hair-like projections known as scabers. The scabers give Leccinum mushroom stems a speckled appearance.
For this reason, Leccinum mushrooms are often known collectively as scaber-stalks. These mushrooms come in a wide variety of colors, both dull and bright, and often have thinner stems than Boletus mushrooms.
Another distinctive feature is their preferred habitat. Whereas most bolete mushrooms seem to prefer conifers, scaber-stalks develop symbiotic relationships with birch, aspen, and related trees.
Leccinum boletes grow widespread throughout the world, particularly in cool, northern temperate regions where birch and aspen are common.
Another large group of bolete mushrooms, the Suillus genus comprises about 100 individual species. They are often called slippery jacks because their caps are often covered in a slimy coating
Some Suillus mushrooms are edible and delicious, particularly those known as butter mushrooms. However, many species are toxic, so you should never eat any of them unless you are sure of their identity.
Suillus mushrooms have many appearances, though nearly all of them have a sticky, slimy coating when they are wet. They come in a variety of colors and shapes.
These mushrooms grow almost exclusively in association with pines. They have a symbiotic relationship with the trees and often grow from the ground in pine-forested areas.
These trees are found throughout the world, primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, though some grow in parts of the Southern Hemisphere as well. They favor temperate regions but can also be found in some tropical areas.
Tylopilus mushrooms also come in over 100 individual species.
These mushrooms are often similar in shape to those of the Boletus genus–they have large caps and thick stems.
However, what sets them apart from Boletus mushrooms is their spore print. Tylopilus mushrooms have pinkish or reddish spores and spore surfaces.
Aside from this pink color, these mushrooms often come in many different bright colors.
Some of them are edible, while others are poisonous–and even the edible ones often have a bitter, undesirable flavor. As always, consult a more experienced forager if you are not sure of your mushroom’s identity.
Tylopilus mushrooms typically grow with pines. Most grow from the ground, while a few grow directly from dead and decaying wood.
These mushrooms can be found in temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Australia.
The Chalciporus genus contains a few species of bolete mushroom.
These mushrooms are often called peppery boletes because of their strong, peppery taste, though some have a more mild flavor than others.
They are not usually eaten because of their strong taste, and they have been known to produce digestive symptoms. They are sometimes used in small quantities, and cooking them tends to both improve their taste and edibility.
Peppery mushrooms are brightly colored, usually orange or red. They are quite small, though, so it is easy to miss them.
These mushrooms grow in conifer forests throughout temperate regions of the world.
There are about 50 mushroom species in this genus. A few things set them apart from other bolete species.
The most notable difference is that some mushrooms in this species have gills instead of pores. They are still considered boletes because the gills can be easily separated from the cap, a feature shared with the porous surface of other boletes.
The soft, fleshy texture of these mushrooms is also much like other boletes.
Whereas most boletes grow in temperate regions, many of the mushrooms in the Phylloporus genus grow in tropical areas. They are found throughout the world.
Some other genera of boletes have also been identified, though they are small and do not contain many species.
These include the Lanmaoa, Neoboletus, Baorangia, Rugiboletus, and Parvixerocomus genera.
Check out this video to learn more about identifying different varieties of bolete mushrooms:
As mentioned above, many bolete species are edible and quite tasty. Some of these include:
- King bolete–found throughout much of the world.
- Brown birch bolete–found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
- Old man of the woods–found in North America.
- Painted bolete–found in North America, Asia, and Europe.
- Bronze bolete–found throughout much of Europe and parts of Asia.
- Bay bolete–found in North America and Europe.
- Pale bolete–found in North America.
- Black velvet bolete–found in North America and Asia.
Many boletes are poisonous and should not be eaten. They may cause nasty digestive upset, while others may cause death.
Boletes to avoid eating include:
- Gilled boletes–most boletes in the Phylloporus species are inedible.
- Red-pored boletes–generally, any boletes that have bright red pores or pore surfaces, and that stain blue when damaged, should be avoided.
- Satan’s bolete–thick and brightly colored in appearance.
- Rhodoxanthus boletus–this type of mushroom has no common name but can cause terrible symptoms.
Again, never eat wild mushrooms unless you are absolutely sure of their identity or you have had them checked by someone with more experience.
There are hundreds of kinds of bolete mushrooms subdivided into various genera. Some of the largest bolete genera are Boletus, Leccinum, Suillus, and Tylopilus.