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Boletus edulis1.jpg
Boletus edulis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Boletales
Family: Boletaceae
Genus: Boletus
L. (1753)
Type species
Boletus edulis
Bull. (1782)
over 100 species

Boletus is a genus of mushroom-producing fungi, comprising over 100 species. The genus Boletus was originally broadly defined and described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, essentially containing all fungi with pores. Since then, other genera have been defined gradually, such as Tylopilus by Petter Adolf Karsten in 1881, and old names such as Leccinum have been resurrected or redefined.

Some mushrooms listed in older books as members of the genus have now been placed in separate genera. These include such as Boletus scaber, now Leccinum scabrum, Tylopilus felleus, Chalciporus piperatus and Suillus luteus.

The name is derived from the Latin term bōlētus 'mushroom' from the Ancient Greek βωλιτης,[2] ultimately from bōlos/βωλος 'lump' or 'clod'.[3] However, the βωλιτης of Galen is thought to have been the much prized Amanita caesarea.[4] In Lithuania and Poland Boletus is called "the king of mushrooms".


In many Boletus species, such as B. luridiformis, the flesh turns blue upon cutting.

The genus Boletus contains many members which are edible and tasty, not the least of which is the famed Boletus edulis, though many others are eaten as well, such as B. badius, B. aereus and others. Many species, such as B. calopus, are bitter tasting and inedible, and others are toxic.

Several guidebooks recommend avoiding all red-pored boletes; however, both B. erythropus is edible when well-cooked. One instance of death from Boletus pulcherrimus, though, was recorded in 1994; a couple developed gastrointestinal symptoms after eating this fungus, with the husband succumbing. The autopsy revealed an infarction of the midgut.[5] Boletus satanas has also long been considered to be poisonous, though it has not been responsible for any deaths. The symptoms are predominantly gastrointestinal in nature. A glycoprotein, bolesatine, has been isolated. A similar compound, bolevenine, has been isolated from the poisonous Neoboletus venenatus of Japan.[6]

Muscarine has been isolated from some red-pored species, although the amounts are pharmacologically insignificant and unlikely to cause symptoms.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Boletus L.". Species Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  2. ^ Simpson, D.P. (1979). Cassell's Latin Dictionary (5 ed.). London: Cassell Ltd. p. 883. ISBN 0-304-52257-0. 
  3. ^ Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4. 
  4. ^ Ramsbottom J (1953). Mushrooms & Toadstools. Collins. p. 6. ISBN 1-870630-09-2. 
  5. ^ a b Benjamin DR. "Red-pored boletes". pp. 359–360.  in: Mushrooms: poisons and panaceas — a handbook for naturalists, mycologists and physicians. New York: WH Freeman and Company. 1995. 
  6. ^ Bolevenine, a toxic protein from the Japanese toadstool Boletus venenatus Matsuura et al Phytochemistry Volume 68, Issue 6, March 2007, Pages 893-898

External links[edit]

Media related to Boletus at Wikimedia Commons