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Suillus lakei

[ Basidiomycetes > Boletales > Suillaceae > Suillus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

The western "painted Suillus" is as beautiful as its eastern counterpart, Suillus pictus, and is recognized by its dull brick red colors, its scruffy cap, the partial veil--which is whitish to reddish and leaves a ring on the stem--and the fact that the flesh in the stem base turns deep green when sliced open.

Suillus lakei grows only under Douglas-fir. In the Rocky Mountains, it is consistently found growing alongside another Douglas-fir associate, Gomphidius subroseus. In fact Suillus species are often found alongside Gomphidius and Chroogomphus species--and recent investigations (see Binder & Hibbett, 2006) have determined that the gilled mushrooms may be capable of parasitizing the Suillus and the Douglas-fir; see the page for Gomphidius subroseus for more information.

There is some debate about whether Suillus lakei has a slimy cap or not; many authors assign a dry-capped version with slightly smaller spores to Suillus lakei var. pseudopictus. Others lump these mushrooms together; Smith & Thiers (1964), for example, say that "[t]he viscidity is not always strongly developed and may be overlooked because of the dense development of the squamulose covering" (35). Bessette, Roody & Bessette (2000) separate the two mushrooms on the basis of cap color (more red in var. pseudopictus).

An Italian variety characterized by a light yellow cap with purplish red scales has been named Suillus lakei var. calabrus (Lavorato, 2000).


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with Douglas-fir, more or less wherever it occurs; growing alone or gregariously; late summer and fall in the Rocky Mountains, fall and winter on the west coast.

Cap: 5-15 cm; convex, becoming flat or with a shallow central depression; covered with dull reddish brown scruffies; base color yellowish to tan; whitish partial veil tissue sometimes hanging from the margin; dry or slimy (see comments below); fading with age.

Pore Surface: Covered with a whitish to dull reddish partial veil when young; yellowish, sometimes darkening with age; bruising brown to reddish brown; pores angular, 1-3 mm wide, sometimes radially arranged; tubes to 1 cm deep.

Stem: 3-8 cm long; 1-3 cm thick; equal; without glandular dots, but streaked reddish below the ring; yellow above the ring, which is whitish to yellowish or reddish.

Flesh: Yellowish throughout, sometimes staining pinkish; usually bluish or green in the stem base when exposed (see bottom illustration).

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: Ammonia gray on cap surface. KOH black on cap surface. Iron salts gray on cap surface..

Spore Print: Cinnamon or brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-11 x 3-4 µ; subfusoid; smooth.

REFERENCES: (Murrill, 1912) Smith & Thiers, 1964. (Smith & Thiers, 1964; Smith & Thiers, 1967; Smith, 1975;Thiers, 1975; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; States, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Both, 1993; Evenson, 1997; Bessette, Roody & Bessette, 2000; Lavortato, 2000; Miller & Miller, 2006; Kuo, 2007.) Herb. Kuo 08140302, 08130702, 08130704.

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Suillus lakei

Suillus lakei

Suillus lakei

Suillus lakei

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Kuo, M. (2008, December). Suillus lakei. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: