King Bolete Identification – Boletus edulis

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This post is part of our “100 Plants and Mushrooms” series. Here, you’ll see the mushroom’s main parts – its cap, gills or pores, stipe, and more – all with key identification features.

When wandering through forests, one might come across the King Bolete, scientifically known as Boletus edulis. Recognizable by its large cap and notable appearance, this mushroom is commonly referred to as cep, penny bun, porcino, or porcini.

King Bolete: Key Parts in Photos

How to identify King Bolete

Boletus edulis is a species of basidiomycete fungus. In simple terms, it means that it’s a kind of fungus that produces spore-bearing fruit bodies, what we commonly recognize as mushrooms. It’s mainly found in Europe, Asia, and North America.

This mushroom favors deciduous and coniferous forests as well as tree plantations. It forms a symbiotic ectomycorrhizal association with living trees. This simply means that the fungus envelops the tree’s roots underground, benefitting both the tree and the fungus. When summer or autumn arrives, you can spot its fruit bodies popping up above the ground.

The King Bolete stands out with its large brown cap that can sometimes grow up to a whopping 12 inches in diameter. The cap feels slightly sticky. It starts as a convex shape, then flattens with age. Underneath this cap, instead of gills like some mushrooms, there are tubes forming pores. As the mushroom matures, spores release through these pores. Initially, these pores are whitish, but as the mushroom ages, they take on a greenish-yellow tint. The mushroom’s stipe, can be up to 10 inches tall. It’s often white or yellowish and features a raised network pattern, called “reticulations.”

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