Bolete family

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The boletes are characterised by firm flesh, a stout stem and a rounded cap with pores beneath rather than gills, in other words a collection of tiny downward-pointing tubes like a sponge.

Most species are very good to eat, the best being the Cep, sold dried in packets, used commercially in soups and sold fresh in continental markets. Other species, such as the Orange Birch Bolete, are almost as good.

Other interesting species in the group include the Blue-staining bolete, whose yellow flesh turns bright blue when cut, and Slippery Jack, so called because its cap is covered with brown gluten.

Two widespread species, both edible but not worth eating, are the Brown Birch Bolete and the Red-cracked Bolete.

Photo © Tony Gunton

More information

'Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain & Europe' by Roger Philips is a well illustrated and comprehensive book on fungi but too big to carry around with you. Consult this when you get back from an outing collecting fungi, and get a smaller field guide to take with you if you want.