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Gilled Boletes

These gilled mushrooms are actually related to the Boletes and are therefore found in the order Boletales, which mostly otherwise have a soft pore sponge-like layer underneath the cap. As explained here, mushrooms with gills evolved many times independently. You will also find gilled polypores.

These species did not have the decency to evolve in a similar manner, so they cannot be recognized easily as a group, but rather you'll just have to learn all the different ones. Most are not hygrophanous.

Choose a spore colour:
 White Spores Brown Spores Dark Spores


White Spores - Hygrophoropsis (Hygrophoropsidaceae). (A similar mushroom, H. morganii, long thought to be another Hygrophoropsis, actually turned out to be a waxy cap once the DNA was studied. Oops). Grows on the ground on buried wood, probably saprophytic. From 2.5-10cm or more across. Easily mistaken for Clitocybe, but these gills are much brighter orange than any Clitocybe.

H. rufa - dark orange brown caps, but the gills are usually brilliant orange and often fork.

H. aurantiaca - orange cap. Often called a "false chanterelle" because of the orange strongly decurrent gills, but these are true gills, sharp and bladelike, not veined.

H. 'pallida' - white cap with orange centre. It is unclear if our local version is a separate species or what it should be called.


Brown spores - (Paxillaceae and Tapinellaceae) - the decurrent gills often get a little wiggly towards the stem, or sometimes fork or are joined together by interconnecting veins. Tapinella is saprophytic but Paxillus is mycorrhizal. The gills are easily removed. They are 5-15cm or more across, except for the "oyster" species, which may be smaller. Luckily, there is something distinctive about each of these to help avoid confusion with other brown spored groups.

Paxillus involutus - urban birch, with a strongly inrolled cap margin and slender-ish habit. Stains brown.

Paxillus cuprinus - similar slender species under wild alder, olive-yellow when young, also much brown staining.

Paxillus 'ammoniavirescens' - supposedly stockier species under hardwoods, but PNW collections are sometimes slender.

Paxillus obscurisporus - fairly stout species under hardwoods. Reddish-brown spore print (the others are olive-yellow brown).

Tapinella atrotomentosa - Growing on conifer logs, with a beautiful velvety stem. Less tough than Panus conchatus.

Tapinella panuoides - <10cm "Oyster" mushroom on conifer logs with no real stem, the odd gills are wavy towards the "stem". Compare Crepidotus.


Phylloporus (Boletaceae) - the most famous genus of gilled boletes, with bright yellow gills, and sometimes bluing. Very closely related to Xerocomus subtomentosus. This one actually does look like a bolete with gills. Mycorrhizal, usually around 5cm across. Do not confuse with the few Tricholomas with yellow gills that are never as bright and never blue. Our local material often stains blue and is found outside of sand dunes and away from pine (unlike the description) and may be a new species.

Phylloporus arenicola - dark olive cap and notched gills that may turn blue.

P. rhodoxanthus has a red cap and decurrent gills.


Dark Spores - Gomphidiaceae - Having decurrent gills, Gomphidius is a slimy mushroom with white flesh, while Chroogomphus is not as slimy and has orange coloured flesh. They are often nicknamed "pine spikes" for their association with pine and resemblance to a tent spike. Long thought to be mycorrhizal, members of this family are now believed to be parasitic on other boletes (for instance Suillus, which are often found under pine, explaining the frequent association of Chroogomphus with pine). Usually from 2.5-10cm across unless otherwise specified.

Gomphidius oregonensis - usually drab cap with bright yellow stem base. Tends to grow in clusters and blacken in age. Parasitic on Suillus caerulescens.

G. glutinosus - usually more purple tones and bright yellow stem base. Grows more singly without blackening as much. Parasitic on Suillus ponderosus.

G. smithii - smaller, pale pink cap, little or no yellow at stem base, also blackening. Parasitic on Suillus lakei.

G. subroseus - smaller, with a brighter pink to red cap. Parasitic on Suillus lakei.

G. maculatus - without a fibrillose veil, little yellow at the stem base and blackening. With larch. All of these have white flesh.

Chroogomphus vinicolor/ochraceus ('rutilus') grp - viscid, perhaps rusty brown/violet brown, turning wine coloured at maturity. Our species may need new names as they parasitize different Suillus than are found in California.

C. tomentosus - dry, orange and fuzzy, but may stain purple. Found with many conifers, not just pine. Often mistaken for a chanterelle. Parasitic on 'Boletus' mirabilis.

C. leptocystis - also dry and fuzzy capped, but a duller grey-salmon. Most closely resembles C. tomentosus, but the colours can be reminiscent of the viscid, smooth C. vinicolor.

C. pseudovinicolor - dry, very large and stocky, <15cm, dry climates. Both orange and red tones. Parasitic on Suillus pseudobrevipes.


Congratulations! You can now impress your friends by pointing out that these mushrooms, although they look like regular gilled mushrooms, are actually more closely related to boletes.

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