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This page is used to feature mushrooms that are prevalent for the particular time of the year or, during the winter months, to feature some of the less desirable or hard to find mushrooms. To see some of our previous stars follow this link to an index of previously featured mushrooms.

                July's Mushroom of the Month

Leccinum aurantiacum: Red-capped Bolete, Orange cap, Red-capped Scaber Stalk

Two photos of Leccinum Aurantiacum

 

Orange caps are fairly large, good edibles that grow mainly under aspens (poplars) and pines.  They are a fairly common mushroom in Michigan.  In Colorado there have been a number of poisonings (severe gastro-intestinal symptoms) so care must be taken when trying this mushroom for the first time.  There are a number of look-alikes so possibly another species of Leccinum is responsible for the poisonings.  Some friends of mine, a Colorado couple, found that the husband could eat these while the wife became violently ill perhaps indicating that the problems are idiosyncratic.

The orange-brown to reddish orange caps of Leccinum aurantiacum range from 2 to 7 inches (5 to 17.5 cm.) across.  The caps are convex when young to flat with age.  The circular pores are off-white when young becoming brownish and bruising olive-brown.  The flesh is white, slowly staining pinkish to burgundy then darkening to purple gray.  The stems are whitish at first then developing short rigid brownish to blackish projections (scabers, which are found on all Leccinum stems). The stems often stain blue-green with bruising particularly at the base. The stems range from 3 to 7 inches (7.5 to 17.5 cm.) tall and ¾ to 1 ¼ inches (20 to 30 mm.) wide.  The spore print is a dark yellow brown.

While orange caps are good edibles, there are a lot of look-alikes.  The most common look-alike is Leccinum insigne which has a reddish to orange brown cap with white to yellow brown pores and dark scabers even when young.  Leccinum scabrum has a more brownish cap with a rough stalk covered with dark brown to black scabers. Leccinum atrostipitatum with a dull orange to tan or brown cap, also has black scabers from the start.  Leccinum testaceoscabrum, known to cause gastro-intestinal distress, has a bright to dull orange cap with a rose tinge; the caps fade to pinkish tan. L. testaceoscabrum has black scabers even in the button stage and is rare in Michigan.

The orange caps are good edibles that I have used in spaghetti sauce and for making risotto.

Phil Tedeschi