Spore Print: Brown
Habitat: This mushroom is 'mycorrhyzal' and needs to grow on the roots of certain trees (aspen, birch, conifer, and oak). They are found at higher elevations in the mountains.
Edibility: Edible with caution.
Comments:This mushroom had been eaten by people for years with no problems until a few years ago when we had a confirmed case of an adverse reaction from a Leccinum. The word spread and now many people avoid eating leccinum species. These look very similar to Boletus edulus and in fact are often confused with the King Bolete. Leccinums are easily identified since they have pores instead of gills, are large in size, and unlike the King Bolete, their flesh stains black. They also have black 'scales' on the stem, and the stem is generally thinner than the King Bolete. Some people say that the darker caps are 'safer' to eat but I usually avoid eating any type of Leccinum. There are more than 100 species of leccinum, all of which are often considered as 'safe' for the beginner. Recently I did eat my first leccinum. It was a rather large mushroom compared to all other leccinum I have seen. The stem was nearly as thick as a Boletus edulus, nearly two inches across but was not bulbous, and it did have the typical black 'scales' on the stem. The cap was not open very much and was still pretty firm. I think this is the best stage to eat them, before the cap fully opens. I carved off the outside of the stem and top of the cap with a knife before chopping it up. The flesh was firm and white without a single bug. I cooked the diced mushroom in about 1/2 inch of water with a little olive oil in the pan. After about 1/2 hour I was surprised to see that the mushroom was still very firm. It turned black when I cooked it which is typical of Leccinum. I tasted a little piece after cooking like this and it had the consistency of potatoes with a slight mushroom taste. After a few minutes there was a slight bitter/sour after taste. I let the mushroom continue to cook uncovered until the water had evaporated and the mushroom started to brown. I then added scrambled eggs. I ate them with ketchup and tobasco sauce. They were delicious and the tobasco seemed to cover the bitter/sour after taste. I was sure to eat a leccinum that had a very dark red cap!