Chalciporus piperatus (Bull.) Bataille - Peppery Bolete

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Boletales - Family: Boletaceae

Chalciporus piperatus, Peppery Bolete

With its beautiful orange pores, this is one of the few boletes that can be identified with reasonable certainty in the field - er, in the woods, that is!

Distribution

Fairly common in deciduous woodland and pine forests, often with birches, in Britain and Ireland as well as many mainland European countries, this attractive bolete (or at least one currently given the same name) is recorded also in North America, where it is found most often in conifer plantations.

The specimens pictured at the top of this page were seen in mixed pine, oak and birch woodland in central France, while the Peppery Bolete shown below was seen near Monchique, southern Portugal.

Chalciporus piperatus, Peppery Bolete, Algarve region of Portugal

Chalciporus piperatus is the type species of the genus Chalciporus, within which about 25 species are known worldwide. In Britain the Peppery Bolete is the only member of this genus currently recorded.

Etymology

The generic name Boletus comes ​​from the Greek bolos, meaning 'lump of clay', while the specific epithet piperatus comes from Latin and means exactly what it sounds like: peppery.

Identification guide

Cap of Chalciporus piperatus

Cap

2 to 8cm across, initially hemispherical and eventually becoming almost flat and often with a slightly wavy margin; dry, dull and slightly sticky when young, becoming smooth and shiny when mature; slightly greasy in wet weather; yellowish orange to cinnamon brown. The flesh of young specimens is firm, but mature Peppery Boletes usually have very spongy cap flesh.

Pores of Chalciporus piperatuss

Tubes and Pores

The cinnamon tubes terminate in large rusty-orange angular pores that do not change colour significantly when bruised.

Stem of Chalciporus piperatus

Stem

3 to 7cm tall and 0.5 to 1.8cm in diameter; surface often has shallow longitudinal grooves; upper region flushed with colour as cap; cylindrical, usually tapering in slightly towards a yellowish base.

Spores of Chalciporus piperatus, the Peppery Bolete

Spores

Subfusiform, smooth, 8-11 x 4-5.5µm.

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Spore print

Cinnamon.

Basidia with spores - Chalciporus piperatus

Other microscopic characters

The basidia (left) are four-spored.

Odour/taste

Odour not distinctive, taste hot and very peppery.

Habitat & Ecological role

Mycorrhizal, found in mixed woodland, often with pines and birches.

Season

Summer and autumn in Britain and Ireland; through into the New Year in the Iberian Peninsula and other parts of the Mediterranean region.

Similar species

Suillelus luridus is much larger and has a reticulate stem; its pores become orange at maturity but they quickly turn blue when bruised..

Suillelus satanas has a white cap and orange or red pores when mature; its flesh turns pale blue when cut and then fades back to its original pallid colour.

Chalciporus piperatus, Peppery Bolete, Algarve region of southern Portugal

Culinary Notes

Chalciporus piperatus, the Peppery Bolete, is reported to be edible when thoroughly cooked, but it is very peppery and probably best used to spice up other mushroom dishes. (This mushroom could possibly be confused with poisonous species such as Suillelus satanas.)

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

British Boletes, with keys to species, Geoffrey Kibby (self published) 3rd Edition 2012

Roy Watling & Hills, A.E. 2005. Boletes and their allies (revised and enlarged edition), - in: Henderson, D.M., Orton, P.D. & Watling, R. [eds]. British Fungus Flora. Agarics and boleti. Vol. 1. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

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