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Phylloporus arenicola

[ Basidiomycetes > Boletales > Boletaceae > Phylloporus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

A few months ago in coastal California's Salt Point State Park, I was eagerly collecting a Cortinarius species that was growing everywhere (and which I have yet to identify, even to subgenus), when I noticed a little "gilled bolete" in sandy soil. Not a big deal, I thought, and casually flipped it into the woods. Later, at the SOMA Mushroom Camp's foray tables, I mentioned finding a stupid little Phylloporus to several local mushroom hunters--whose jaws dropped in disbelief. "The gilled bolete doesn't grow around here," I was told.

I had not even taken a photo, so I had no evidence of my apparently rare find. Then someone else brought in a tiny gilled bolete and, as they say, the crowd went wild. It was the rare Phylloporus arenicola, a sand-loving Phylloporus known primarily from the Oregon coast but not, it turned out, completely unheard of in northern California. The lesson is: When you are far from home, don't assume the mushrooms are close to home. I was lucky to be able to photograph someone else's Phylloporus arenicola on a table, but I sure wish I had taken in situ photos of the one I found.


Ecology: Presumably mycorrhizal with pines; usually growing alone in sandy coastal soil; winter; coastal Oregon and coastal northern California.

Cap: 1.5-4.5 cm; more or less flat, sometimes becoming depressed; dry; fairly smooth, or finely velvety; olive to olive brown or yellowish brown.

Gills: Attached to the stem but not running down it significantly and often pulling away from it in age; distant or nearly so; yellow to golden yellow; not bruising; thick.

Stem: 4-6 cm long; up to almost 1 cm thick; tapered downward; yellowish, with reddish and brownish stains or hairs.

Flesh: Pale yellow; not staining when exposed.

Taste: Mild; odor not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: Cap surface immediately purplish gray with ammonia, then dark red. Iron salts weakly olive on flesh.

Spore Print: Not recorded; presumably yellowish to brownish yellow.

Microscopic Features: Spores 9-12 x 4-5 µ; smooth; long-elliptical to spindle-shaped; weakly dextrinoid.

REFERENCES: Smith & Trappe, 1972. (Smith & Trappe, 1972; Bessette, Roody & Bessette, 2000.)


Phylloporus arenicola

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Kuo, M. (2005, March). Phylloporus arenicola. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: