Pale cream to buff cap; stalk pale cream to buff; pores pale cream-yellow. Grows singly or in groups of up to several, on the ground in oak woods. June–September. Cap convex, becoming flat; pale cream to buff; texture dull, dry, suedelike. Pores small; circular, becoming angular; pale cream-yellow, sometimes weakly bruising blue, then brownish. Stalk enlarging slightly toward the base; pale cream-buff, can be reddish at the base; texture smooth. Spore print olive brown. Spores magnified are barely spindle-shaped. The name "pallid bolete" is fitting, as this mushroom is mostly pale cream-buff to very pale yellow.
Lookalikes: Other Boletus species.
Cap width: 1½–6 inches; stalk length: 2–4¾ inches; stalk width: ½–1¼ inches.
Habitat and Conservation
Grows singly or in groups of up to several, on the ground in oak woods.
This species is mycorrhizal: It exists most of the time as a network of cells (mycelium) connected to tree roots, in a symbiotic relationship with the tree. (Many trees fare poorly without their fungal partners.) When ready to reproduce, the mycelium sends up the mushroom aboveground—this is the reproductive structure. In boletes, spores are produced in the pores under the cap and are released to begin new mycelia elsewhere. The mycelium of a mushroom can live for decades.
Some say the flavor of the pallid bolete rivals that of the prized “king bolete” or porcini, Boletus edulis, which does not grow in Missouri. Pick young, firm specimens for using fresh. Older specimens are best dried.
This is one of many fungus species that help nourish forest trees through symbiosis. The netlike fibers of the fungus cover the surface of a tree’s roots, increasing the surface area and the roots’ ability to absorb water and nutrients. In return, the tree shares nutrients with the fungus.
Mushrooms are a lot like plants, but they lack chlorophyll and have to take nutrients from other materials. Mushrooms are neither plants nor animals. They are in a different kingdom — the fungi. Fungi include the familiar mushroom-forming species, plus the yeasts, molds, smuts, and rusts.
Always be cautious when eating edible mushrooms. Be absolutely sure of the ID, and only eat a small amount the first time you try it to avoid a reaction..