Boletus mushrooms: what they are and how to recognize them

Boletus mushrooms: what they are and how to recognize them

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That of boletus mushrooms is a relatively common and easy to identify family of fungi, and divided into smaller sub-families, such as Boletus, Leccinum and Suillus. But what are the characteristics of these mushrooms?

Features Boletus mushrooms

Almost all members of the family of Boletaceae they have features that make them pretty easy to spot. THE boletus they appear in fact as large fleshy mushrooms that come in a variety of colors, with a thick or bulbous stem and without a ring, except for some belonging to the sub-family of Suillus. The stem often has a network of dark lines or spots. The pores under the hat can be white, cream, yellow, orange or red, and are normally easy to remove from the hat.

Anyway, considering that there are about two hundred and fifty in the world Boletusit is quite possible that these characteristics may vary, albeit not significantly. Fortunately, of the approximately two hundred and fifty types, only a handful are those to be avoided due to their toxicity, while the remaining part of the family is represented by edible mushrooms which can be safely identified and intended for consumption.

For the absolute beginner, there are three identification rules for edible Boletus that will keep you safe from any inconvenience.

First make sure you have a Boletus in front of you, with an erect stem and porous sponge, and that it grows on the ground, not on the wood. So, if there is any red color on the mushroom, which includes the stem, pores or cap area, avoid it: it could be the sign of a toxic Boleto (this is not always the case, but better not to risk!).

Then, cut the mushroom in half vertically: If the meat turns bright blue quickly after or immediately after cutting, avoid eating it, as the fungus may be toxic. Again, it is good to remember that some edible Boletus actually can discolor to green or bluebut as a rule the color of the rapidly changing meat is a sign that you should avoid eating this mushroom.

Compliance with the above rules will keep you safe when you go in search of boletus. With these guidelines you will probably lose sight of some specimens that are good and edible, but on the other hand you will avoid toxic mushrooms. With a little experience you will get used to correctly identifying this family and, as it becomes easier for you to distinguish them, you will also be able to safely identify some of the foods that do not comply with the above rules.

Read also: How to grow mushrooms in straw

Which varieties to discard and which to consume

There is a mushroom that will exceed the aforementioned edibility rules but that experts advise not to eat, because although it is not toxic it has a very unpleasant taste. This is the Boleto Amaro, or Tylopilus felleus. It is a mushroom whose flesh - as the name suggests - is extremely bitter and persistent.

Among the other varieties, a mention is certainly deserved by the Leccinum, which generally have less bulbous stems, white / off-white in color, and which are covered with black wooly scales which give them a - precisely - “dirty” appearance. The Orange Birch Boleto, Leccinum versipelle, is one of the most nutritious mushrooms you can harvest, with proteins, carbohydrates and fats at a higher level than most other mushrooms, and they also contain a lot of minerals and vitamin A and some of the vitamins B most useful. The leccini should all be well cooked before consumption, for a minimum of ten minutes.

Again, as regards the Suillus, one of the most common and easily identifiable is the Suillus luteus, with a ring on the stem and a slimy cap. It is a great edible mushroom once the slimy substance is removed, but it improves in flavor if the pores are also removed and the mushroom is sliced ​​and dried. Another very common Suillus is Suillus grevillei, which also requires the removal of the upper, more slimy part.

In any case, the occasion can only be welcome in order to invite all our readers to pay the utmost attention to mushroom picking activities, especially if they are conducted by newbies and by inexperienced people.

Mushrooms can in fact be very tasty elements that you can include in your diet, but they can also be terribly toxic. Moreover, the differences between the various mushrooms are often so limited that it is not easy to identify the harmful ones, compared to the non-harmful ones. Therefore, our suggestion can only be to always seek the advice of an expert mycologist before being able to introduce any mushroom into your kitchen.

In fact, it is a foresight that will allow you to avoid any kind of injury, thus protecting you from any misunderstandings that could have even particularly harmful consequences for your health.

With a quick Google search, in relation to your city, you will easily realize that there will be private and public centers for verifying the goodness of mushrooms (often internal to the ASL) that therefore with a little forethought and with the right awareness you will be able to put safe from any potential trouble.

In short, remember that mushroom picking can be enjoyable, fun and tasty, but that I should never underestimate the risks you could run in collecting and cooking mushrooms that have levels of toxicity that are sometimes even fatal. Therefore, never trust the experience you may have accumulated and, in the event of any doubt, leave the mushroom to its fate!

Video: Birch Bolete Mushroom. Identification and Cooking (July 2022).


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