On rare occasions, you might come across an absolute monster of a bolete. Ever seen one?
Now you have!
But what species am I holding here? Well, this mushroom, which we found in northern Connecticut, is from the bolete family; more specifically, it’s from genus Tylopilus. To be even more specific, the exact species of this mushroom is Tylopilus rubrobrunneus.
And that species is known to grow big–we’ve seen other huge ones ourselves, and we also recalled hearing Connecticut naturalist Bolete Bill say that he too has found rubrobrunneus specimens of gargantuan proportions. This one, as we first approached it, looked like it was just a large stone from a nearby stone wall!
But it ain’t no Porcini. As exciting as it was to find this enormous shroom (especially while wearing a t-shirt from an archaic monster movie), I already knew that T. rubrobrunneus is bitter–and I don’t mean like grapefruit. I mean atrociously bitter, to the point of being inedible. It’s not the only bitter species; in fact rubrobrunneus is one of several bitter species just within the Tylopilus group.
Don’t write the group off completely though, unless you want to be in the dark about the delicious Black Velvet Bolete (Tylopilus alboater). But that’s a story for another day. This story is about how finding a mushroom this size is fun, no matter what species it is. The caps of giant boletes, if they are fresh enough and firm, emit an especially satisfying sound when lightly slapped!
Here are some other views of this mammoth Tylopilus.