Bolete (Pore) of NW Ontario
Boletes in General
- Boletes have pores under the cap, not gills or teeth.
- Avoid red/orange pore or stem surfaces.
- If you cut it and it turns blue or green – its probably gonna cause problems (there is an exception).
- Beware orange capped species – they can cause adverse reactions.
- Worms, animals and bugs love Boletes.
- Some people can have adverse reactions to perfectly edible species.
King Bolete or Porcini are a favored edible mushroom usually associated with spruce/pine forests – something we do have here in NW Ontario.
Other Varieties are strongly associated with certain trees, like the Birch Bolete, the Larch Bolete, to name a couple.
Boletes always grow on the ground, never on dead or live wood.
When: August into September
Where: Under or near Birch trees
Distinguishing features: Brown Capped Bolete growing near Birch Trees, white to buff stem with dark wolly “scales” noticbly coarser near ground.
Cap: Various shades of Brown to reddish brown. Convex.
Gills: Pores, not gills, off white/ beige and do not instantly change colour when bruised, will brown gradually.
Flesh: White, slightly pink when cut.
Identifiable: Where it grows, pores, cap shape/colour and scabs on the stem and staining when cut.
Boletus cf. edulis (King Bolete “ish”)
When: August into September
Where: Under or near conifers. Occasionally in mixed hardwoods.
Distinguishing features: Orangish brown Capped Bolete growing near conifer trees, white to brown stem with reticulation near attachment to cap.
Cap: orangish brown. Convex.
Gills: Pores, not gills, pale yellow to olive.
Flesh: White, firm , unchanged in colour when sliced.
Identifiable: Where it grows, pore colour, cap shape/colour, no scabs on the stem and no staining when cut.
Gill Types: Note colour, staining and type of gills present.
True Gills: narrow platy fins radiating from the stalk out to the tips of the caps. Note the density colour and the bruising colour of the gills. Honey mushrooms are good local example.
Pores: No defined gills as above, instead a series of pores under the cap. This is a hallmark of Bolete mushrooms. Boletes are many and varied in their edibility and or toxicity.
Teeth/spines: Gills appear as narrow teeth or spines hanging from the cap. Scaly Hedgehog mushrooms are a local variety.
False Gills: No true gills, instead may have ridges that appear as gills, however they are not easily breakable, thin or platy. Lobsters and Chantrelles are great examples of false gills.
Tips and Tricks
Never eat a mushroom you are not 100% sure of its identification. Even when 100% sure, only ingest a small amount as some people have reactions to normally edible mushrooms. Always cook them first.
The underside of mushrooms are its gills. They are typically fragile blades, some have spines/”teeth”, some are more ridges, some are pores and others have no gills at all.
Spore print mushrooms – place the cap, gills down on a piece of white AND a piece of dark paper for an hour or two. This will tell you the colour of its spore print.
Stay away from young “button stage” mushrooms and older, bruised or damaged mushrooms.
Where does the mushroom grow? On wood? Mossy forest? Hardwood? Softwood?
How does the mushroom grow? Clusters? Alone? In spaced out groups?
What time of year is it? Most mushrooms have a season, finding a fall mushroom in the spring means its not likely what you were looking for.
Start out with easier mushrooms, join groups and go on identification walks. Always ask for help with identification.
Identification and resources
It is important to identify and be sure of edible plants, mushrooms and berries in the wild. There are numerous resources available however nothing is better than going with an expert and growing your knowledge over time.
Pictures and videos are very important and a simple google search (images) will return a wide range of a specific plant you are looking for. There are numerous Facebook groups as well, where the users are usually more than happy to help identify something. Simply upload a good quality picture (or 3 or 4 from different angles) and see what the collective consensus is.
Keep in mind that no one can identify by picture alone 100% of the time.