|Two-color Bolete- Click to enlarge|
Even with a distinctive looking mushroom like this one, identification is time consuming for a beginner. Beginning with a careful inspection of the gills, pores or other methods of spore production, you then focus on consistency, texture, odor, bruising and other features. Sometimes the final identification requires microscopic examination of the spores.
Two-colored Boletes are a little easier to start with. The cap is 2-6 inches across and varies from dark red to almost pink. The under surface is bright yellow with tiny pores packed tightly together, hard to see with the naked seventy year old eye. The stalk is thick and very firm, a dark red which fades to yellow near the cap. As is true throughout nature, colors can vary at times.
These are common mushrooms which show up from July to October and are usually found under oak trees, just as we found them.
All mushrooms are edible - once - some only once. Many mushrooms will make you wish you hadn't eaten them but aren't fatal. Occasional individuals may be sensitive to edible mushrooms including even morels.
"Edible" in mushroom reference books means it is safe to eat but says nothing about taste. In theory, cardboard is edible. This Two-colored Bolete is rated as choice. Most of the mushrooms which could be confused with it are edible but I passed on it.
We never eat a mushroom unless we have learned to identify it from an expert who has eaten it in the past, and is standing in front of us looking healthy. At least it made a great picture.