Observation 76796: Boletus edulis Bull.

When: 2011-09-18

Collection location: Erving State Park, Erving, Massachusetts, USA [Click for map]

Who: Noah Siegel (Noah)

No specimen available

Growing under hemlock. Cap broken to show staining, pores peeled after it started bluing. Picture taken about ten minutes after it was broken.

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2011-09-29 18:41:51 CDT (-0400)

your Lactarius fun fact is very, very interesting. Time to start bringing a bottle of ethanol or isopropyl and a rag along for making field collections.

the plot thickens…;)
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-09-29 16:25:03 CDT (-0400)
morning dew blue of other boletes…
By: Bill (boletebill)
2011-09-29 16:01:21 CDT (-0400)

I have only a simple observation or two to throw in here that may, or may not be, relevant. In CT I have noticed that if you handle Boletus bicolor in the early morning or after a rain the stipe turns decidedly blue. If you return to that SAME patch when they are bone dry the stipe does not turn blue. I have guessed that this is an environmental phenomena associated with the PH of rainwater in reaction with chemicals on the stipe and possibly the pressure of fingertips. I should be easy to test this but I’ve never done it but then again there are also dry specimens of B. bicolor that blue on the stipe without being wet… but these are almost always young, firm dense specimens. Also, as Noah well knows, if your have latex from the Lactarius volemus/corrugatus group on your fingers or knife it well give a false blue reaction to a number of different boletes.

Secondary metabolites
By: Nathaniel Segraves (nlsegraves)
2011-09-29 12:58:38 CDT (-0400)

Igor, I agree that nothing should be ruled out as to the source of the compounds. Believe me, while studying marine natural products in grad school this was always a debate we had as to the true source organism. Even plants have been shown to harbor microorganism symbionts that are responsible for some of the bioactive metabolites.

However, these particular compounds are well known in the Boletus genus an, as you and Christian agreed, are most likely produced by the fungus. I think Dave has a good point that factors like weather/tree association/etc. need to be carefully considered.

I also agree that more specimens need to be examined from multiple environments to produce a better picture. I will happily to examine all fruiting bodies I find this fall in California and will post them if bluing is observed. Only careful record keeping and many eyes on the ground will be the way the rate of occurance and contributing factors will be determined.

By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-09-28 23:00:40 CDT (-0400)

it is the WHY that is interesting.

In light of I.G.’s comment,
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2011-09-28 19:50:01 CDT (-0400)

doesn’t it make sense to consider environmental diffences as correlated to bluing reactions in mushrooms?

Here in eastern NA the rainfall can have a very low ph. Might this contribute to unlocking chemicals from existing bonds within the substrate? (Sorry if my brainstorming betrays my lack of chemistry fundamentals.)

I think so, too..
By: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)
2011-09-28 18:41:43 CDT (-0400)

but I didn’t want to sound presumptuous and… ahem… arrogant. :-)

That’s legitimate
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2011-09-28 18:31:46 CDT (-0400)

But I definitely think this is from the mushroom itself.

By: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)
2011-09-28 18:27:22 CDT (-0400)

I was just being careful with my language because these chemical compounds could be extraneously acquired by absorption from the soil of from symbiotic microorganinisms, as opposed to be genetically coded for. For instance, many bioactive marine natural products isolated from all sort of sponges and sea pencils actually come from symbiotic bacteria. Besides, phenotypic traits are subject to alterations by the environment, and what we see may not represent the original shape and color, etc.

‘ostensibly phenotypic’
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2011-09-28 15:33:33 CDT (-0400)

Anything that is an observable trait is phenotypic.

This is not
By: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)
2011-09-28 02:19:54 CDT (-0400)

my fight, but nevertheless I would like to comment without taking any sides, though I do have a problem with the way Noah’s statement “What we call Boletus edulis in the northeast STAINS BLUE!” is worded (like an axiom, which it is not).

I cannot believe it after reading this string of comments — all this bad blood and just because of some unusual and rare bluing in Boletus cf. edulis (OK, the hemlock variety of B. edulis). Whatever…

The underlying cause is likely chemical in nature, akin to the pronounced bluing in other boletes (if your eyes don’t get glazed over immediately after seeing a chemical structure, read a wonderful article at “www.fungimag.com/fall-2010-articles/BoletesLR.pfd” to get the right perspective). This feature in the case of Noah’s bolete is ostensibly phenotypic in nature, likely to involve some pretty complicated enzymatic chemistry and appears to manifest itself under specific, yet to be identified, conditions. Is it limited to and always present in the hemlock variety of B. edulis (or B. cf. edulis) or is it also spilling into the Norway spruce and white pine varieties? The only way to find out is to systematically conduct some complicated scientific experiments with specimens from a wide variety of locations and mycorrhizal associations (DNA sequencing and/or natural product isolation/characterization, etc.) because one should really be looking for the true cause, and not trying to make sense of some fickle, hard to reproduce manifestations thereof (weather/environmental conditions, etc.).

For the record, all B. edulis I found under Norway spruce and white pine in the last few years in NJ, PA, NY and CT had unchanging context and did not bruise blue or any other color on pores, and I am yet to find my first one under hemlocks.

Finally, I would like to close with a following unpublished observation regarding my B. edulis post #76869. Though it says that I found a single basidiocarp (pictured), there was another one a couple of yards away under the same ancient pines. I didn’t mention it to keep things simple and because I didn’t take it with me or photograph it; furthermore, I assumed it to be the same species. It was smaller and in poor shape, and when I sliced it open, a large area of the context above the tubes immediately bruised pink, which made me raise my eyebrows and scratch my head. The point being — this is a rare and interesting aberration caused by a chemical transformation of unknown origin and triggered by who knows what. Draw you own conclusions…

An affidavit
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2011-09-27 21:40:54 CDT (-0400)

I can offer a sworn testimony that I personally have observed on one or two occasions slight bluish staining on B. edulis. var. grandedulis in the Great State of California. In my estimate this is a rare feature, but I have not conducted a systematic study to determine the frequency. It is possible that someone who does may show demonstrate it to be more common. It is also possible that weather conditions, particularly low temps may contribute to that discoloration. This would not be the first time we’ve seen greenish/bluish staining in Boletales being affect ted by temperatures. Arora also confirms that in the formal description and in personal communication with me too – what is this argument all about then? We should simply note that and keep our eyes open to chart when and how it occurs, if possible.

Blue staining
By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2011-09-27 16:48:18 CDT (-0400)

I have seen Boletus rex-veris stain blue slightly. I emailed David Arora about it and he said “Yea, they do that sometimes.” I haven’t seen it on var. grandedulis, but the description says “Context in both the cap and stipe thick, firm, white, not staining when cut (or rarely blueing slightly just above the tube layer)”

Waiting for Porcini (Sam Beckett’s absurdist taxonomic play)
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2011-09-27 16:46:41 CDT (-0400)

“Arrogance is not about seeing something and telling others what you see.”

So… is it about being ‘skeptical’ about what other people have seen (and photographed) because you haven’t?

“Arrogance is seeing something unusual locally, then extrapolating it to the whole population nationwide”

…uh, no one did that… the extrapolation was to a PERCENTAGE of the population.

“Not to mention a “bluing reaction” that only occurs in a bizarre place”

Why is “blueing” in quotes? Do you not agree about the color? Also, what parts of mushrooms qualify as bizarre? Why are they bizarre?

“You still haven’t said where you collected those bluing CA boletes.”

For the second time, I have seen them in Santa Cruz. And as you’ve already noted, they aren’t fruiting on the coast in CA yet. So sit tight and we’ll give you numbers and locations in a couple months.

“Did they all blue, too?”

For the umpteenth time, no. A non-zero percentage. A non 1/1 fraction. An integer less than 1. How else can I say this…

Dimi, like many of us in CA…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-09-27 15:45:05 CDT (-0400)

looks hard at everything, including boletes.

Arrogance is not about seeing something and telling others what you see.

Arrogance is seeing something unusual locally, then extrapolating it to the whole population nationwide, and then insulting folks by claiming that rather than it being an anomaly or something that doesn’t quite fit the generally acknowledged scheme (and is worthy of further investigation) it is a matter of other people just not being smart or observant enough to see it.

Not to mention a “bluing reaction” that only occurs in a bizarre place (the interface between the pores and the cap context) and only in some rare populations and places. Point of fact, those “unobservant” bolete eaters and hunters often do pull maturing pores off their boletes before drying, and would surely notice a blue color when they did so. I know that I would, and I haven’t seen it.

I have never seen the phenomenon in hand, and I have looked at a lot of boletes. It does not invalidate the fact that you are seeing them in a restricted area of MA. You still haven’t said where you collected those bluing CA boletes. Salt Point? Mendocino? The East Bay? Santa Cruz CO? What about the boletes in OR and WA and CO and ID? Did they all blue, too?

Indeed, I am skeptical. But we can continue to document what we find, in numbers of negative examples as well as the positive. Otherwise, how can you tell whether it is a common or very rare phenomenon? And why only at that particular juncture of pores and cap context?

I am perusing these questions. My curiosity has been piqued.

By: Justin Pierce (Mycopath)
2011-09-27 15:03:00 CDT (-0400)
arg maties!
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2011-09-25 00:15:22 CDT (-0400)

There be war in mushroom land!

By: christopher hodge (christopher hodge)
2011-09-24 18:34:06 CDT (-0400)

Arora himself describe b. edulis in as “not bluing when bruised or only slightly bluing near tubes”? or is this bluing more than slightly? or has david got it wrong as well?

/refills popcorn bag
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2011-09-24 17:13:24 CDT (-0400)
Triple sigh
By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2011-09-24 13:33:50 CDT (-0400)

I wouldn’t call Dimi a serious bolete person, he is to busy describing all the Amanita and Cortinarius from CA.

Debbie, this all started because I made the statement that edulis stains blue and you immediately said “our edulis does NOT stain blue” All I did was go out and prove it occurs in the east.

Now because my “little group” has observed it I am arrogant in pointing it out? The fact is I will come to CA and find it, I don’t know on what percent yet, but I know I will see it; because I have seen it and my so called little group has seen it.

At the moment it’s only a forty-five mile radius between patches, a very small sample size, and no I haven’t gone looking at spots I have seen it before (except for the hemlock spot where this year it didn’t stain) I have been out mushrooming and have found edulis and checked it for staining.

double sigh.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-09-24 12:10:34 CDT (-0400)

Well Noee, perhaps not “kid,” despite you all being right around my daughter’s age, but most certainly the arrogance of youth.

Only ONE serious mycologist in CA looking at boletes? Really? Gee, I thought there were two: Dimi and David. Why, that’s double your below estimate!

Indeed, to act as though you and your little group are the only ones looking hard is preposterous. Not a good way to make friends and build consensus.

You may well have a population of edulis or subcaerulescens that blues under the pores only, in a limited area in MA. Did you drive across New England to find these bluing porcini? Down to the SE? Into the Midwest? Will you alert the folks at Wildacres to look out for this curious and mostly unknown phenomenon? What were the exact mile radii of your search? Ten miles from home? Twenty? One hundred?
Weren’t you just going back to areas where you had already seen this phenomenon? And won’t you do that again when you get back to my part of the world?

Where exactly in CA have you seen it? I don’t need GPS coordinates and I am no bolete whore, only looking to the table or commercial opportunities. I am looking for patterns and answers, not just blandishments and hyperbole.

As to the major porcini paper, I have asked Roy to send me a copy so that I can read it for myself, but were examples of MA bluing porcini noted in some manner so that where they came out in the tree could be read? THAT is why I suggesting independantly running the data of bluing porcini that you apparently have so readily at hand in MA. But perhaps our current DNA methods are simply inadequate to the task of discriminating those obvious differences in hand? The paper suggests this as well.

As noted in Christian’s summary below, this paper did not show how populations differed. And of course they do, all over the US.

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2011-09-24 00:22:29 CDT (-0400)

Sorry Noah, I misinterpreted what you were saying re: “The only reason they’re called B. subcaerulescens…” I thought you meant synonymy with B. edulis. Your assertion that they are closer to B. pinophilus makes sense, and is supported by the tree (the clades are very, very close).

By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2011-09-23 22:49:23 CDT (-0400)

“finding anomalous examples doesn’t determine the normal, just shows that oddballs can occur anywhere.”

How many do I have to find before it stops being “oddballs”? So far I have found four out of five spots under three different host trees that blue.

“the vast majority of serious bolete hunters in the west do NOT observe bluing in their boletes”
Serious bolete hunters… Give me a break, I know of ONE person I would consider a serious bolete hunter in the west, (who has seen blue staining in edulis) I do know a lot of serious bolete POT hunters in the west.

it is entirely possible, however, that there is a pocket of these anomalous boletes somewhere in CA…I suspect Santa Cruz Co

Pockets? come on Debbie…
Look, maybe you are right, maybe its a real small percentage of bluing in the west, but I doubt it. We will see.

And really kids, it’s not like you are the only ones who pay attention to the mushrooms that you collect.

I may be immature, but I’m hardly a kid anymore.

“PS – Noah – the paper notes that B. subcaerulescens IS a distinct taxon…"

I never said it wasn’t, I made the argument that it was the same as what we call pinophilus in the US. It does look different from edulis, esp the cap surface.

It already has
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2011-09-23 21:16:15 CDT (-0400)

Molecular phylogenetics of porcini mushrooms (Boletus section Boletus)
Dentinger et al, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 57, 2010.

Cliffs Notes: The Eastern and Western stuff clades together.

Obviously there is potential for genetic structuring within this clade, so come up with some loci to compare and let’s have a sequencing/analysis party. In the name of science. Amen.

Full version below.

“Compounding this problem, all of the infra- specific taxa and segregated species of B. edulis (with the exception of B. subcaerulescens and B. pinophilus) appear to be phenotypic variants of a single widespread panmictic population, confirming the results of Leonardi et al. (2005) and Beugelsdijk et al. (2008). However, the ITS may simply not evolve fast enough to detect re- cently diverged taxa, in which case the stable forms of B. edulis that occur throughout its range may in fact be reproductively isolated from each other. Confident diagnosis of species limits in B. edulis sensu stricto and its segregated forms will require the addition of faster-evolving genetic markers and population genetic studies with thorough sampling throughout its reported range in Europe, Asia, and North America.”

No one ever said that we were the only ones paying attention.

PS – Noah – the paper notes that B. subcaerulescens IS a distinct taxon…

it would be interesting to run the DNA on your eastern bluing boletes…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-09-23 14:48:56 CDT (-0400)

and see if it matches up with non-bluing edulis, or if it differs. all you need is a slice for vouchering…surely your boletivore buddies could spare one?

finding anomalous examples doesn’t determine the normal, just shows that oddballs can occur anywhere. some examples spring to mind. ;)

the vast majority of serious bolete hunters in the west do NOT observe bluing in their boletes. and everybody pulls pores off of aging boletes before drying them.

it is entirely possible, however, that there is a pocket of these anomalous boletes somewhere in CA…I suspect Santa Cruz Co, but even the Santa Cruz hunters of many decades haven’t observed bluing. And really kids, it’s not like you are the only ones who pay attention to the mushrooms that you collect.

I’m getting blue,
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2011-09-22 23:46:31 CDT (-0400)

just thinking about you returning to California.

By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2011-09-22 23:15:16 CDT (-0400)

in this patch (which were found by others that weren’t willing to give them up for scientific study) were classic northeast hemlock edulis, I got three specimens, two buttons that were less then two inches tall and this older one. The ONLY reason it’s being called B. subcaerulescens is because of the bluing…
What we call Boletus edulis in the northeast STAINS BLUE!
And when I get to CA I will prove that edulis var. grandedulis blues as well.

Created: 2011-09-20 08:06:59 CDT (-0400)
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