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Penny Bun - Boletus edulis

Penny Bun - Boletus edulis

Main features

  • Fruits Summer to Autumn

  • Found as individual specimens or in small groups

  • Grows in association with trees, particularly birch, beech, oak, spruce, and pine

  • Smells slightly sweet and nutty

  • Cap surface very pale brown, almost white/grey, through to dark brown

  • Cap can appear greasy when wet

  • Cap is dome-shaped, but often misshapen and with a thin white margin

  • Size of cap is 10-30cm

  • Sturdy barrel or club-shaped stem buff-coloured stem covered in white reticulation

  • Stem 10cm plus in diameter and 10-20cm tall

  • Has no stem ring/skirt 

  • White reticulation more pronounced near top of stem

  • Flesh is white and does not change colour when bruised

  • Pore surface is white, yellowing with age, and does not change colour when bruised

  • Pores are circular

  • Spore print is olive brown

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Penny Bun - Boletus edulis

Edible mushroom - novice

Other common names: King Bolete, Cep, Cèpe, King Mushroom, Bouchon, Porcini, Porcino, Penny Bun Bolete,


Scientific name meaning: Boletus originates from the Greek Bolites, referring to a superior mushroom. Edulis is a Latin word meaning edible

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

Habitat - where will I find it? Underneath deciduous and coniferous trees, particularly Silver Birch, Downy Birch, Beech, Oak, Spruce and Pine

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Penny Bun is mycorrhizal, growing in association with several trees including Silver Birch, Downy Birch, Beech, Oak, Spruce and Pine. It can be found in small groups and individually

Cap: The cap is usually between 10 and 30cm. The surface colour is a shade of brown from very pale, almost grey-white when young, through yellow brown and reddish brown to dark brown. It is dome-shaped, and often misshapen. The cap can appear greasy, particularly after rain. The very edge of the cap is lighter than the rest, and often a white band at its extreme edge is visible

Pores: The pore surface starts off white and yellows with age. When sliced through, the upper end of the tubes are a pale yellow to off yellow. The pores are circular. When bruised, the pore surface does not change colour

Flesh: white, with no colour change when damaged

Stem: Thick, sturdy and either club or barrel-shaped. The stem colour is buff and the surface is covered in a white reticulation (net like pattern). The reticulation is most noticeable where the stem meets the cap. It is usually between 10-20cm tall, and can be 10cm wide, sometimes wider. It has no ring, or skirt

Smell: Slightly sweet and nutty

Spore colour: Olive brown

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with any of the Bitter Bolete (Tylopilus felleus), which is not poisonous but has a very nasty taste.

The Bronze Bolete (Boletus aereus) and Summer Bolete (Boletus reticulatus) are very similar. However, both are good edibles, with the former having a brown reticulation on its stem, and the latter lacking the white cap margin of the Penny Bun

Use as a food Must be cooked and can be used exactly as a cultivated mushroom. It has a delicate sweet, nutty flavour and dehydrates well if storage is required. Dehydration dramatically enhances the flavour. 

It makes and excellent stock or sauce.

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

Use in herbal medicine The Penny Bun has been used to treat lumbago, and limb pain and conditions. It also has antioxidant properties

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. It is also a food source for the Red Squirrel

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!

Penny Bun - Boletus edulis - showing white reticulation
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