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Brown Birch Bolete - Leccinum scabrum

Brown Birch Bolete - Leccinum scabrm

Main features

  • Fruits Summer to Autumn

  • Found as individual specimens or in small groups

  • Grows in association with Birch

  • Smells slightly sweet

  • Cap surface very pale brown through to dark brown

  • Cap starts off velvety and smooths with age

  • Cap is dome-shaped and with width of 5-15cm

  • Sturdy white stem covered in black wool-bobble scales

  • Stem 2-3cm in diameter and 5-20cm tall

  • Has no stem ring/skirt 

  • Top of the stem tapers near cap

  • Flesh is white 

  • Flesh does not bruise, or bruises pale pink when damaged

  • Pore surface is off white, bruising pale brown very slowly when damaged

  • Pores are circular

  • Spore print is olive brown

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Brown Birch Bolete - Leccinum scabrum

Edible mushroom - novice

Other common names: Rough Birch Bolete, Birch Bolete, Scaber Stalk


Scientific name meaning: Leccinum comes from the Italian Leccino, which was used to describe rough-stemmed boletes. Scabrum is from the Latin Scaber, meaning rough, rugged or roughened

Season - when will I find it? From Summer to Autumn

Habitat - where will I find it? Underneath Silver Birch or Downy Birch trees

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Brown Birch Bolete is mycorrhizal, growing only in association with Birch. It is usually found underneath Silver Birch or Downy Birch. It can be found in small groups and individually

Cap: The cap is usually between 5 and 15 cm. The surface colour is a shade of brown from very pale, almost white, through to a dark brown. It is dome-shaped, often misshapen, and often with a wavy edge. The cap starts off velvety, but smooths with age

Pores: The pore surface is an off-white colour, and the pores are circular. When bruised, the pore surfaces changes slightly brown very slowly

Flesh: white, usually with no colour change when damaged, but can sometime go slightly pinkish

Stem: Sturdy and white/off-white in colour, the stem is covered in dark, almost black, sacles that resemble bobbles on a woollen jumper. They are usually more dense nearer the base of the stem. The stem is 2-3cm wide and 2-20cm tall. It has no ring, or skirt, and tapers at the cap end

Smell: slightly sweet

Spore colour: Olive brown

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with any of the Orange Birch Bolete (Leccinum versipelle) or the The Blue Bolete (Leccinum cyaneobasileucum), but these are both edible and the flesh at the base of the stem of both turns blue or blue-green when damage 

Use as a food Must be cooked and can be used exactly as a cultivated mushroom. It has a delicate sweet flavour and dehydrates well if storage is required. The outer flesh of the stems can be tough, so best peeled off.

Also, the pore surface in older specimens contains a lot of detritus, so should be removed.

Use in herbal medicine None known. Please let us know if you know of any

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards None known

Importance to other species Slugs and snails often eat these mushrooms

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!

Cap of Brown Birch Bolete - Leccinum scabrum
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