Shrooming with the kids in Alabama: Identifying sample #3.

Sample #3: “The Socialites”

We ran across this large, bulbuous sample several times. The larger the sample, the more likely we were to find a thriving community of similar shrooms nearby. So we decided to dub them “the socialites” as a way to describe them before final identification could be made.

The underside revealed a surprise- spongy yellow gills attached to the stalk in an adenante (or broadly attached) pattern. Shroomers call these “sponge-like pores” and often classify them alongside the curious category of tooth-like gills.

One might easily mistake these shrooms for a log or something the dog left behind on the lawn. The shape of the cap is convex.

When we turned it over, we saw the same spongy underside, only this time the coloring was less yellow and more cream-like. We guessed it was a younger specimen. The stalk seemed to be club-shaped and possibly upward tapering.

Identification

It didn’t take long for us to realize that the socialites might be even more convivial than we had imagined. Their spongy gills kept leading us back to the Bolete family, a group prized by foragers for their rich taste and versatility. Unfortunately, the height of the grass kept us from viewing the Socialites in their full-stemmed glory.

Option 1: Boletus fragans

Specifically, Boletus fragans is characterized by a brown cap which begins as convex, then spreads with an irregular and wavy edge. Chestnut-brown in color with a velvety structure, the B. fragans’ stipe spindle-shaped. The timing is right- the B. fragans grows in the summer and fall in the grass courts of deciduous forests, especially under oak and chestnut. Our yard, of course, is a combination of conifers and deciduous trees.

Option 2: Suillus brevipes

The other compelling candidate was Suillus brevipes, or Slippery Jack. The Suillus stem more closely resembled the puny stem of our Socialites. Also, the fact that it is found under conifers, which thrive in our yard, makes it a closer bet. On the other hand, everyone describes this shroom as very slimy and slippery- and yet it didn’t entirely seem that way.

So we’re still seeking an ID for our Socialiate friends…. Mainly, we’d like to know it we can go ahead and count them in for dinner tomorrow night.

Slippery jack omelette recipe (Cook Almost Anything)
Boletes (Wild About Mushrooms)
Short-stemmed Slippery jack (Flickr)
Suillus brevipes (Wikipedia)

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