State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Boletus edulis Bull.

  • Agaricus bulbosus (Schaeff.) Sacc.
  • Boletus betulicola (Vassilkov) Pilát & Dermek, 1974
  • Boletus bulbosus Schaeff.
  • Boletus citrinus A.Venturi, 1863
  • Boletus clavipes (Peck) Pilát & Dermek, 1974
Vernacular Name
Penny Bun, Cep, Porcino, Porcini
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Poland: Błoński, 1896 (as Boletus bulbosus Schaeff.); Chełchowski, 1898 (as Boletus bulbosus Schaeff.); Sałata, 1972, 1988, 1990; Chmiel et al., 1994; Flisińska, 2004; Mułenko et al., 2013. Ukraine: Wróblewski, 1922; Bazyuk, 1998, 2003; Bazyuk & Heluta, 1999a; Bazyuk-Dubey, 2010. Widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere across Europe, Asia, and North America, it does not occur naturally in the Southern Hemisphere, although it has been introduced to southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Several closely related European mushrooms formerly thought to be varieties or forms of B. edulis have been shown using molecular phylogenetic analysis to be distinct species, and others previously classed as separate species are conspecific with this species. The western North American species commonly known as the California king bolete (Boletus edulis var. grandedulis) is a large, darker-coloured variant first formally identified in 2007. The fungus grows in deciduous and coniferous forests and tree plantations, forming symbiotic ectomycorrhizal associations with living trees by enveloping the tree's underground roots with sheaths of fungal tissue. The fungus produces spore-bearing fruit bodies above ground in summer and autumn. The fruit body has a large brown cap which on occasion can reach 35 cm (14 in) in diameter and 3 kg (6.6 lb) in weight. Like other boletes, it has tubes extending downward from the underside of the cap, rather than gills; spores escape at maturity through the tube openings, or pores. The pore surface of the B. edulis fruit body is whitish when young, but ages to a greenish-yellow. The stout stipe, or stem, is white or yellowish in colour, up to 25 cm (10 in) tall and 10 cm (4 in) thick, and partially covered with a raised network pattern, or reticulations. Prized as an ingredient in various foods, B. edulis is an edible mushroom held in high regard in many cuisines, and is commonly prepared and eaten in soups, pasta, or risotto. The mushroom is low in fat and digestible carbohydrates, and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Although it is sold commercially, it is very difficult to cultivate. Available fresh in autumn in Central, Southern and Northern Europe, it is most often dried, packaged and distributed worldwide. It keeps its flavour after drying, and it is then reconstituted and used in cooking. B. edulis is one of the few fungi sold pickled. Common names for B. edulis vary by region. The fruit bodies of Boletus edulis can grow singly or in small clusters of two or three specimens. The mushroom's habitat consists of areas dominated by pine (Pinus spp.), spruce (Picea spp.), hemlock (Tsuga spp.) and fir (Abies spp.) trees, although other hosts include chestnut, chinquapin, beech, Keteleeria spp., Lithocarpus spp., and oak. In California, porcini have been collected in a variety of forests, such as coastal forests, dry interior oak forests and savannas and interior high-elevation montane mixed forests, to an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft). In northwestern Spain, they are common in scrublands dominated by the rock rose species Cistus ladanifer and Halimium lasianthum. Boletus edulis has a cosmopolitan distribution, concentrated in cool-temperate to subtropical regions. It is common in Europe—from northern Scandinavia, south to the extremities of Greece and Italy—and North America, where its southern range extends as far south as Mexico. It is well known from the Borgotaro area of Parma, Italy, and has PGI status there. The European distribution extends north to Scandinavia and south to southern Italy and Morocco. In China, the mushroom can be found from the northeastern Heilongjiang Province to the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau and Tibet. It has been recorded growing under Pinus and Tsuga in Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal, as well as in the Indian forests of Arunachal Pradesh. In West Asia, the species has been reported from the northwest forests of Iran.
Book reference

Taxonomic branch