return to Pictorial Key

Gilled Boletes

Gilled boletes are more related to boletes in the Boletales order than they are to most other gilled mushrooms. Phylloporus, the original gilled bolete, was one of the first times mycologists realized that their morphologic classification system might not reflect reality. Then when the microscope was invented, they found it produced spores over twice as long as they are wide, just likes boletes do, and it was clear that mushrooms had evolved back and forth between gills and pores more than once.

Since then the microscope has discovered other gilled mushrooms that are close bolete relatives, and DNA has confirmed it. You'll have to just learn how to recognize the various genera, but there is often a clue - gills that (especially near the stem) do something weird (after all, they didn't evolve with other gilled mushrooms) - either fork, wriggle, or become interveined almost to the point that they might start to almost look like pores where they attach to the stem.

Choose a spore colour:
 White Spores Brown Spores Dark Spores


White Spores - Hygrophoropsis (Hygrophoropsidaceae). Grows on the ground on buried wood, probably saprophytic. From 2.5-10cm or more across. Strongly decurrent gills, easily mistaken for Clitocybe, but these gills are much brighter orange than any Clitocybe, and the gills fork repeatedly. Often called a "false chanterelle", but although they fork, these resemble true gills (sharp and bladelike) not veins (see a comparison on that page).

Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca group - two species have orange caps.

H. aurantiaca group ('rufa') - three species have dark brown caps and stems.


Brown spores - (Paxillaceae and Tapinellaceae) - the decurrent gills often get a little wiggly towards the stem, or sometimes fork or are joined together by interconnecting veins. Tapinella is saprophytic but Paxillus is mycorrhizal. The gills are easily removed. They are 5-15cm or more across, except for the "oyster" species, which may be smaller.

Paxillus involutus - said to be with urban birch, with a strongly inrolled cap margin and slender-ish habit. Stains brown.

Paxillus cuprinus - similar under birch or alder.

Paxillus 'ammoniavirescens' - supposedly stockier species under hardwoods, but PNW collections are sometimes slender.

Paxillus obscurisporus - fairly stout species under hardwoods. Reddish-brown spore print (the others are olive-yellow brown).

Tapinella atrotomentosa - Growing on conifer logs, with a beautiful velvety stem. Less tough than Panus conchatus.

Tapinella panuoides - <10cm "Oyster" mushroom on conifer logs with no real stem, the odd gills are wavy towards the "stem". Compare Crepidotus.


Phylloporus (Boletaceae) - the most famous genus of gilled boletes, with bright yellow gills, and sometimes bluing. Most closely related to Xerocomus. This one actually does look like a bolete with gills. Mycorrhizal, usually around 5cm across. Do not confuse with the few Tricholomas with yellow gills that are never as bright and never blue.

Phylloporus arenicola group - dark olive brown cap, bright yellow gills. Four species? Some with notched gills, some with decurrent gills, some blue and some don't. Some are spring and some are fall species.


Dark Spores - Gomphidiaceae - Having decurrent gills, Gomphidius is a slimy mushroom with white flesh, while Chroogomphus is not as slimy and has orange coloured flesh. The latter are often nicknamed "pine spikes" for their association with pine and resemblance to a tent spike. Long thought to be mycorrhizal, members of this family are now believed to be parasitic on other boletes (for instance Suillus, which are often found under pine, explaining the frequent association of Chroogomphus with pine). Usually from 2.5-10cm across unless otherwise specified.

Gomphidius oregonensis - completely slimy, usually a drab cap with bright yellow stem base. Tends to grow in clusters and blacken in age. Parasitic on Suillus caerulescens under Doug fir.

G. 'glutinosus' - usually more purple tones? Also a bright yellow stem base. Grows more singly without blackening as much? Parasitic on Suillus ponderosus under Doug fir and/or growing with spruce.

G. subroseus - smaller, with a bright pink to red cap when young and yellow stem base. Parasitic on Suillus lakei under Doug fir.

G. smithii - very similar small pinkish cap that isn't as bright when young, usually with less yellow at the stem base, also blackening. Parasitic on Suillus lakei under Doug fir.

G. maculatus - the only species without a fibrillose veil under the slime veil, little yellow at the stem base, blackening. With larch. All of these have white flesh and are slimy.

Chroogomphus 'vinicolor'/ochraceus ('rutilus') grp - viscid with burgundy and orange colours. C. 'vinicolor' is darker and pointer than the C. ochraceus group. They parasitize different Suillus under pine.

C. tomentosus - dry, orange and fuzzy, but may stain purple. Found with many conifers, not just pine. Often mistaken for a chanterelle. Parasitic on 'Boletus' mirabilis under hemlock.

C. leptocystis - also dry and fuzzy capped, but perhaps a duller grey-salmon.

C. pseudovinicolor - dry, very large and stocky, <15cm, dry climates. Both orange and red tones. Parasitic on Suillus pseudobrevipes under pine.


Congratulations! You can now impress your friends by pointing out that these mushrooms, although they look like regular gilled mushrooms, are actually more closely related to boletes.

return to Pictorial Key