Tag Archives: boletes

Large boletes are out in force, it’s mushroom time!

Email: geoff@geoffdann.co.uk

28/08/2018

I love this time of year. The oppressive hot weather has gone, and nature is at its most abundant for a forager. Best of all, it has been 9 months since mushroom season ended and I don’t have many foraging clients, so I actually get to remember what my hobby was like before it became my job. And because every year is different, it’s never boring.

The opening of mushroom season 2018 is quite selective – a lot of things aren’t fruiting at all – but the things that are fruiting are doing so very abundantly. Most predominant of all are the large boletes. This morning I found the biggest flush of Oak Boletes (Butyriboletus appendiculatus) I have seen in many years, and finally got a photo that eluded me while collecting photos for my book (the photo of this species in the book is one of the few that aren’t my own). This is an absolutely first class edible – my wife Cathy ranked it higher than a Penny Bun (Boletus edulis), and I’m tempted to agree with her. Our six month old daughter Dorothy was also impressed. They are sweet, and almost crunchy even when cooked. Do be careful though – there were some very similar-looking mushrooms under the next tree, no more than ten metres away, but these were the poisonous and bitter Rooting Bolete (Caloboletus radicans).  Apart from the taste, the most obvious differences are slight differences in the colour scheme, and the patterning on the stem (compare photos).

Oak Bolete

Rooting Bolete

I actually spotted these Oak Boletes yesterday and went back to photograph them this morning, and their abundance prompted me to spend the afternoon seeing what else I could find.  The result was a very wide selection of large boletes, including Summer Boletes (B. reticulatus), Penny Buns, Lurid Boletes (Suillelus luridus), Scarletina Boletes (Neoboletus luridiformis) a couple of Bay Boletes (Imleria badia), as well as handful of smaller species. Dark Penny Buns (B. aereus) are also fruiting in south-east England, but I didn’t see any today. These species typically do well after a long, hot summer, so this is not unexpected.

Clockwise from top left: Lurid Bolete, Summer Bolete, Penny Bun, Scarletina Bolete, Bay Bolete, Oak Bolete

Another edible species that is really going for it is The Blusher (Amanita rubescens), which is having its best year in a long time.  There’s a decent amount of various members of the Agaricaceae about (Agaricus species, Parasols and Shaggy Parasols, Giant Puffballs), and I found a big fruiting of one of my absolute favourites – Poplar Fieldcap (Cyclocybe cylindracea).

Blushers

Some things are missing though, including some boletes: I haven’t seen a single Leccinum, nor a Suillus. There are a few brittlegills (Russula) about, but nothing like what you’d expect in a good year for this group. I haven’t seen any chanterelles or any of their relatives either, and I’m expecting a quiet year for these after they fruited so prolifically last year. No sign of the rest of the Amanitas either, apart from a couple of False Blushers (Amanita spissa) – no Deathcaps (A. phalloides).

Poplar Fieldcap

All things considered, it’s looking pretty good for this year’s mushroom season. I expect the things that are missing will start turning up in the next two or three weeks.

Finally, it is also looking like an exceptional year for sloes.

Sloes

Good luck and stay safe!

Geoff

Dorothy Dann samples an Oak Bolete

Brighton Food Festival Masterclasses

09/07/2013

Tickets are now available for two mushroom foraging masterclasses on the closing weekend of the Brighton Autumn Harvest Food Festival (Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th of September).

A typical mid-September collection of (mainly) edible fungi, primarily boletes in this case, but there's also some russulas, amethyst deceivers and millers in there, as well as an inedible (too bitter) species that the collector was hoping (in vain) might be hallucinogenic.

A typical mid-September collection of (mainly) edible fungi, primarily boletes in this case, but there’s also a parasol, some russulas, amethyst deceivers and millers in there, as well as an inedible (too bitter) species that the collector was hoping (in vain) might be hallucinogenic.

These will be held in the Live Food Show Marquee on Hove Lawns at 11am. The aim is to give a general introduction to foraging for wild mushrooms in the UK, but with a hands-on emphasis on whatever is actually growing in the Sussex countryside at that time. Each year is different, and the middle of September can turn out to be anything between the start of the season, when things are only just getting going, to the point where the biggest variety of species are available of any time in the year. It all depends on the weather. However, some things are pretty much guaranteed, so I’ll be surprised if I’m not able to bring along, for example, some fairy ring mushrooms (Marasmius oreades) and their deadly lookalike fool’s funnel (Clitocybe rivulosa). I would also normally expect to find some chanterelles around this time, and a nice selection of boletes, but who knows what the Mushroom Gods will bring us? One thing for sure is whatever I manage to find in Sussex that weekend, there will be more of it growing for other people to find. This is a typical feature of the way the fungi grow – the same species appears at the same time in multiple locations where the conditions have been similar (and this can include most of England, not just the Home Counties).

Books and the internet are invaluable learning tools, but there is no substitute for actually seeing, touching and smelling a wild mushroom. I will be bringing edible species, poisonous species and very common species. As well as introducing the foraging and identification of wild fungi, I’ll be cooking up some samples for people to try, and the students will also be able to take some of the edible ones home with them.

See festival website for tickets.