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Suillus punctipes

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

by Michael Kuo

This Suillus is easily identified if you have button-stage specimens to look at, along with mature specimens. When young the mushroom has a brown pore surface, and this feature, combined with the absence of blue staining, serves as a good field character to separate it from look-alikes. The stem is densely covered with brownish glandular dots that darken with age, and the slimy cap is yellowish to yellow-brown.

Whether or not Suillus punctipes has a partial veil is up for grabs. Very young buttons have caps that are typically covered with a "tomentum"--Mycologese for a covering that might best be compared to what might happen if you were to put a piece of Kleenex on the slimy cap of your Suillus. Authors usually describe this tomentum as grayish brown, but in my experience it can be whitish, as in the second illustration. Buttons frequently demonstrate the tomentum along the cap margin, where it can appear quite like the marginal partial veil remnants. Add to this the comment by Smith & Thiers (1964, p. 64) that the stem has "no veil remnants showing anywhere . . . except on the smallest buttons observed," and you might make a pretty good case for the presence of a partial veil. However, regardless of whether Suillus punctipes has a partial veil when very, very young, all evidence soon disappears, and it might as well be treated in identification keys as lacking a veil.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers, especially eastern white pine; growing alone or gregariously; summer and fall; northeastern North America, documented as far south as North Carolina. I have collected it in Michigan and in the Appalachians of Kentucky.

Cap: 3-10 cm; convex becoming broadly convex; slimy; when very young with a tomentum (see above), but soon smooth; yellow to yellow-brown.

Pore Surface: Brown to pale brown at first, becoming yellowish or olive; not bruising; about 2 round or angular pores per mm; not boletinoid; tubes under 1 cm deep.

Stem: 4-9 cm long; 1-1.5 cm thick; equal or with a slightly swollen base; densely covered with glandular dots that are pale brown at first and become darker with age; whitish to yellowish under the glandular dots; without a ring.

Flesh: Whitish or pale yellow overall, often orangish or reddish in the stem base; not staining on exposure.

Odor and Taste: Taste mild; odor strong and fragrant, according to most authors (many of whom use this character as a crucial identification feature). The smell is described as "spicy or like almond extract" by Bessette et al., or "like that of Hygrophorus agathosmus" by Smith & Thiers--who later admit that "the odor is hard to describe," but that "when one gets a basket full of specimens it is quite pronounced."

Chemical Reactions: Cap purple with KOH; negative, purplish or brownish with ammonia; negative with iron salts. Flesh purple or purplish red with KOH; negative with ammonia; negative or pale olive with iron salts.

Spore Print: Brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7.5-10 x 3-3.5 µ; smooth; subfusoid.

REFERENCES: (Peck, 1880) Singer, 1945. (Coker & Beers, 1943; Singer, 1945; Smith & Thiers, 1964; Snell & Dick, 1970; Smith & Thiers, 1971; Grund & Harrison, 1976; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Phillips, 1991/2005; Both, 1993; Bessette, Roody & Bessette, 2000; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 10010403.

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Suillus punctipes

Suillus punctipes

Suillus punctipes

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Kuo, M. (2004, November). Suillus punctipes. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: