The wildlife and wild places of Leicestershire and Rutland
Boletes and allies
All images on this website have been taken in Leicestershire and Rutland by NatureSpot members. We welcome new contributions - just register and use the Submit Records form to post your photos. Click on any image below to visit the species page. The RED / AMBER / GREEN dots indicate how easy it is to identify the species - see our Identification Difficulty page for more information. A coloured rating followed by an exclamation mark denotes that different ID difficulties apply to either males and females or to the larvae - see the species page for more detail.
Fungi are not plants, as was thought to be so in the past, but in a separate Kingdom of their own. In most cases, the main body of the fungus is hidden from view. It is a network of threads (hyphae) collectively called a 'mycelium', which permeate the substrate on which the fungus grows. The hyphae absorb nutrients and water from the substrate. The reproductive spore-producing structures, such as the familiar mushroom or bracket, are the visible parts of the fungus.
The Fungus Kingdom is extremely diverse, and includes many microfungi that are rarely recorded. Most of the larger species are in one of two major divisions or Phylum, based on the way the fungus reproduces. Basidiomycota (sometimes called 'spore-droppers') include mushrooms and toadstools, brackets, corals, puffballs, jellies, rusts and smuts. The Ascomycota or 'spore-shooters' includes cups, morels, yeasts and many other smaller fungi.
Taxonomy is very complicated and is liable to change as the true relationships between species are worked out. In the sections below, we have grouped fungi into categories based on their structure and appearance rather than their place in the scientific taxonomic hierarchy. There is more information under each section.
Always note the substrate or host-plant on which the fungus is growing, and the habitat. To identify many large species, it is helpful to get a good photograph of the cap (from the top), the gills or spore-producing structures (from underneath) and the stipe or stem (from the side) - three images from three angles, rather than images from much the same angle.
Always note the texture of cap and stipe; the smell; and the presence of any staining or 'milk' produced when the cap, gills, stipe or body of the fungus is bruised.
The colour of the spores can be very helpful. It is best seen by taking a spore-print from a collected specimen - advice on doing this is in many of the resources below. For some fungi, microscopic examination of the spores may be needed for identification.
The Leicestershire Fungi Study Group is a great place to start if you want to learn about fungi. They welcome new members. Their annual programme of study forays is led by enthusiastic and knowledgeable leaders. There are also indoor microscopy sessions held in Leicester. This is a really excellent way to broaden your knowledge, and make friends who share your interest in fungi.
There are many field guides, but none of them contain all the fungi you will find, or have all the photos or information you need, so it is a good idea to check several different books and websites.
- Courtecuisse, R. & Duhem, B. (1995) Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain & Europe. Collins
- Kibby, G. 2020-2022. Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain & Europe, Volumes 1 - 4. (privately published)
- Laessoe,T. & Petersen,J. (2019) Fungi of Temperate Europe. Princeton University Press, Volumes 1 and 2
- O'Reilly, P. (2016). Fascinated by Fungi. First Nature
- Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms (2nd edition). Macmillan.
- Sterry, P. & Hughes, B. (2009). Complete guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. Collins
- Wood, E & Dunkelman, J. (2017). Grassland Fungi: a Field Guide. Monmouthshire Meadows Group
Pat O'Reilly's First Nature website has some helpful advice and tips on identifying fungi.
The British Mycological Society website is a good source of information, mostly aimed at the expert.
If you know of other websites or books that you would recommend, do let us know: email@example.com
Boletes and allies
These fungi have spongy tissue made up of long narrow tubes ending in pores on the underside of the caps. The spores are usually olive-green or brown, and drop out from the pores. Many species change colour when bruised and this can be an important way of identifying them (example: blue coloration on bruised pores of bay bolete). Other distinguishing features are the color and texture of cap; colour and size of pores; and the texture of the stipe, which may be covered in a fine net or reticulation (see cep) dots or scales (see orange birch bolete).
Some related fungi have gills rather than pores - e.g. the Roll-rims, False Chanterelle and Spikes - so we have included these in the Gill Fungi section (see Paxillaceae, Hygrophoropsidaceae and Gomphidiaceae).
Boletaceae - Boletes
- stains dull blue when touched
- clumps of large fruiting bodies