King Bolete

A King Bolete mushroom emerges from the forest floor in the Gallatin Mountains.

The King Bolete is one of the world’s most prized wild mushrooms. Revered from the woods of Montana to the French countryside, King Boletes possess an earthy aroma and hearty texture that is unforgettable.

King Boletes emerge in the mountains of southwest Montana during the summer. Mushroom hunters will note the bolete’s large rust- or ochre-hued cap plainly visible among the forest duff.

King Boletes — known commercially in the U.S. as Porcini mushrooms, as Ceps in France and Steinpilz in Germany — are large mushrooms that are easy to spot in the forest.

As a result of their conspicuous nature and delectable flavor, King Boletes are a favorite of forest critters. Deer, squirrels and birds make quick work of the mushrooms.

Older, often larger King Boletes can suffer from worm infestations. Mushroom hunters should seek young, firm specimens for the table.

To identify a King Bolete in the field, look for a brown-, yellow- or red-capped mushroom with a white or brownish stalk that is at least 1 inch wide. The stalk will exhibit a finely netted pattern, particularly toward the top. Check the underside of the cap for a spongy, porous layer.

When the cap of a King Bolete is split, it reveals a layer of white spongy flesh and a brownish or yellowish layer of spore tubes. The layers are easily separated.

King Boletes are most commonly found on the ground in woods or near wooded areas. The mushrooms will frequently grow in groups in conifer forest and are common throughout southwest Montana.

As with all wild mushrooms, be sure to cook King Boletes thoroughly and consume them in moderation.