Although I love to focus on great edible mushrooms on this blog, for some time I have been planning to delve more into the aesthetically pleasing mushrooms that, for one reason or another, are not often to be found anywhere in my pantry or on my table. The shaggy stalked bolete, Heimioporus betula (also known as Austroboletus betula, as well as a host of older names, including Boletus betula, Boletellus betula, Boletus morganii, and Heimioporus alveolatus), is one such mushroom; although I’ve done a lot of culinary fancying-up of this mushroom in these past few years of hunting in North Carolina’s woodlands and wild spaces, I have never gotten them quite right and they usually remind me of munching on a pile of wet leaves.
My dislike for the flavor of the shaggy stalked bolete is not intended to condemn this mushroom to the useless pile by any means, because the shaggy stalked bolete is terrifically beautiful and shares habitat with chanterelles and black trumpets during the summer and early fall in the NC Piedmont, and I consider them to be a decent indicator species of both edible Cantharellus and Craterellus dainties.
Another blessing of the shaggy stalked bolete is the fact that it is a very good example of the trials and windy path of mushroom taxonomy because it has such a wide range of Latin names. Of course, when looking at the boletes as a whole, one is inclined to want to break it down into a few neat and comfortable genera, but this is simply a fool’s errand. The shaggy stalked bolete has some distinguishing features that has caused mycologists to remove it from the genus Boletus and thence from Boletellus, which is an astonishingly common occurrence and makes identifying boletes (even more) challenging than it already is.
So, let’s get right to it, here’s a portrait of the shaggy stalked bolete!
Yours In Fungal Fancy,
Shaggy Stalked Bolete – Key Features
The shaggy stalked bolete, Heimioporus betula, appears in the summer and fall throughout the southern United States, and it does particularly well in and around the North Carolina Triangle. It’s not uncommon for me to find many specimens of this mushroom in a single afternoon, even though the mycelium of this species seems not to produce that many individual mushrooms at the same time (I usually find between one and four mushrooms that are presumably produced by the same mycelium and rarely more).
The name that is perhaps the most common in identification guides for the shaggy stalked bolete is Austroboletus betula, which means “southern bolete,” and this is a fitting name indeed, given that this striking and easily identified mushroom seems to do particularly well in southeastern United States and is an omnipresent species in the North Carolina Piedmont’s mixed wood forests.
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