Sunday, June 26, 2011

Leathery-veiled Bolete

Leathery-veiled Bolete - Paragyrodon sphaerosporus
I found a few of these interesting mushrooms growing in the grass under a white oak at Silverwood Park this morning.  It's a bolete (order Boletales), which is a group of mushrooms that have the typical "toadstool" shape, cap and central stem shape, but have pores under the cap instead of gills.  Many boletes are prized edibles.

I knew I had found something unique, the thick veil covering the underside of the cap was unusual, and every part of it stained reddish brown when cut.  I figured it would be easy to identify.  But I was wrong.  I consulted three field guides and didn't find anything that matched this mushroom.  I finally identified it after a lucky search on the Mushroom Expert website.  Not only is it unique in its appearance, but it is mostly rare outside of the Great Lakes region, the only mushroom to be so that I know of (but there's still a lot for me know about mushrooms).
In the above photo, I've cut away part of the veil to show the pores under the cap, and how they stain reddish brown after I scratched them with my pocket knife.

In the next picture you'll see a reddish brown section of the cap that I cut away this moring, and right next to it, a section I cut away just before the picture was taken this evening. 
The next picture was taken a minute or two later and shows that the same cut has now turned reddish brown, like the one made in the morning.
Since I said earlier that many boletes are prized edibles, you might want to know if P. spaerosporus is good to eat.  The answer is mostly unknown.  I hope to return to Silverwood later in the week to look for more of these unique mushrooms.

If you'd like more information, please go to the excellent Mushroom Expert webiste, or to Tom Volk's also excellent website (the common name I used in the titled is taken from his site)