Admirable bolete

Aureoboletus mirabilis

''Aureoboletus mirabilis'', commonly known as the admirable bolete, the bragger's bolete, and the velvet top, is an edible species of fungus in the Boletaceae mushroom family. The fruit body has several characteristics with which it may be identified: a dark reddish-brown cap; yellow to greenish-yellow pores on the undersurface of the cap; and a reddish-brown stem with long narrow reticulations. ''Aureoboletus mirabilis'' is found in coniferous forests along the Pacific Coast of North America, and in Asia. Unusual for boletes, ''A. mirabilis'' sometimes appears to fruit on the wood or woody debris of Hemlock, suggesting a saprobic lifestyle. Despite occasional appearances to the contrary, ''Aureoboletus mirabilis'' is mycorrhizal, and forms close mutualistic associations with hemlock roots.
Admiral bolete  Admirable bolete,Aureoboletus mirabilis,Geotagged,Summer,United States

Appearance

The bulk of ''Aureoboletus mirabilis'' is typically hidden from sight, existing as masses of almost invisible fungal threads called mycelium, which form the active feeding and growing structures of the fungus. The mushrooms, or fruit bodies are created solely for the production of spores by which the fungus reproduces itself. The caps of the fruit bodies are up to 15 cm in diameter, red or brownish-red in color, initially convex but flattening out as they develop. The cap is fleshy, with a rough surface that is slippery or slimy in young specimens, or in moist environments. Older specimens generally have dry and velvety cap surfaces. The texture of the cap surface is rough, at first because of flattened-down fibrils, and later with bent-back scales or sometimes with cracked rough patches that resemble dried cracked mud. Young specimens may have a small flap of thin tissue attached to the margin or edge of the cap, remnants of a reduced partial veil. The surface is covered with tufts of soft woolly hairs, and has persistent papillae.

The tubes underneath the cap are up to 2.5 cm long, and are initially pale yellowish before becoming greenish-yellow with age, or mustard-yellow if injured. The pores have diameters of 1–2 mm. The flesh can be pale pink, yellow, or white in color, firm but watery, thick, and either not changing color or becoming deeper yellow with bruising. The flesh is 1 to 1.5 cm thick at the junction of the stem with the cap.

The stem is up to 12 cm long, usually thickest at the base and tapering upward, up to 4 cm thick below and 0.5 to 1 cm at the apex. It typically starts out with a bulbous shape but becomes more equal in width throughout as it matures. The surface is dry, often roughened and pitted, and with a network of grooves or ridges or reticulations near the top of the stem. It is about the same color as the cap, but will bruise to a darker reddish-brown near the base. The stem is solid , and its flesh pale purplish at the top, but yellowish below. Mycelium at the base of the stem is also yellow.Collected in deposit, the spores of ''B. mirabilis'' are olive-brown. Viewed with a microscope, the spores are spindle-shaped to roughly elliptical, with smooth, thick walls, and have dimensions of 18–22 by 7–9 µm. Overholts' 1940 publication on the species reported spore dimensions of 20–26 by 8–9 µm. The basidia are club-shaped, hyaline , 4-spored, and have dimensions of 31–36 by 7–11 µm. Cystidia are thin-walled, and measure 60–90 by 10–18 µm. There are no clamp connections present in the hyphae.
The Admiral  Aureoboletus mirabilis,Fall,Geotagged,United States

Naming

''Aureoboletus mirabilis'' differs from other boletes in the covering of the cap, which superficially resembles that found on the surface of ''Boletellus ananas'' and ''Strobilomyces strobilaceus'', but the scales are more rigid with a somewhat conical shape. It can be distinguished from these two species by both its bay-brown color, and the absence of a veil. Both of the other species mentioned possess a conspicuous veil, and the former is tan to brown with a pinkish tint, while the latter is dark brown or black. ''Boletus edulis'' is separated from ''A. mirabilis'' by the color and texture of the cap, tubes and stem. ''Boletus coniferarum'' turns blue when bruised and has a very bitter taste. ''Aureoboletus projectellus'' is also similar in appearance to ''Aureoboletus mirabilis'', but is found in eastern North America.

Distribution

The fruit bodies of ''Aureoboletus mirabilis'' grow solitarily, scattered, or sometimes in small groups on the ground or on well-decayed conifer logs, especially of western and mountain hemlock, but occasionally also Douglas-fir and western red cedar. The fungus is strongly suspected to form mycorrhizal associations with hemlock, although standard attempts at growing ''B. mirabilis'' mycorrhizae in laboratory culture have failed. Although fruit bodies are sometimes found growing on logs with advanced brown cubical rot—a trait suggestive of cellulose-decomposing saprobic fungi—the rotten wood harboring the fungi typically contains abundant conifer roots. It has been suggested that ''B. mirabilis'' has specifically adapted to this niche to reduce competition for nutrients with other mycorrhizal fungi, and further, that the inability to culture mycorrhizae in the lab using standard techniques may be because certain physical or chemical characteristics of the wood with brown cubical rot are required for fungal growth.

''Aureoboletus mirabilis'', which usually appears from late summer to autumn, is distributed in the hemlock forests of the Pacific Coast Ranges from Northern California to Alaska, the Cascade Range, as well as in interior forests such as in Manitoba. It has a disjunct distribution, as it has been also been collected in Japan and Taiwan.

Habitat

The fruit bodies of ''Aureoboletus mirabilis'' grow solitarily, scattered, or sometimes in small groups on the ground or on well-decayed conifer logs, especially of western and mountain hemlock, but occasionally also Douglas-fir and western red cedar. The fungus is strongly suspected to form mycorrhizal associations with hemlock, although standard attempts at growing ''B. mirabilis'' mycorrhizae in laboratory culture have failed. Although fruit bodies are sometimes found growing on logs with advanced brown cubical rot—a trait suggestive of cellulose-decomposing saprobic fungi—the rotten wood harboring the fungi typically contains abundant conifer roots. It has been suggested that ''B. mirabilis'' has specifically adapted to this niche to reduce competition for nutrients with other mycorrhizal fungi, and further, that the inability to culture mycorrhizae in the lab using standard techniques may be because certain physical or chemical characteristics of the wood with brown cubical rot are required for fungal growth.

''Aureoboletus mirabilis'', which usually appears from late summer to autumn, is distributed in the hemlock forests of the Pacific Coast Ranges from Northern California to Alaska, the Cascade Range, as well as in interior forests such as in Manitoba. It has a disjunct distribution, as it has been also been collected in Japan and Taiwan.

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Taxonomy
KingdomFungi
DivisionBasidiomycota
ClassAgaricomycetes
OrderBoletales
FamilyBoletaceae
GenusAureoboletus
SpeciesA. mirabilis