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Naturalize That Mushroom Outdoors!
The Aspen Bolete is not a true Boletus mushroom, but belongs to the genus Leccinum, also referred to as "Scaber Stalk" mushrooms. This due to the scabrous fiber like characteristics on the stems, which are usually colored in Leccinum mushrooms.
Aspen Boletes are considered to be safe edibles by many people, and suspect by others who are suspicious of the entire Leccinum genus since some digestive upset has been reported for some species (often mis-identified, or unidentified in many cases because of the many orange capped Leccinum mushrooms). Understand that only a small percentage of people seem to react, though it is still unknown whether the issue is personal, or a matter of preparation or mis-identification. One currently popular theory is that certain individuals do not react well with certain Leccinum mushrooms, though reactions to these are very much the exception.
We follow the rules we have been given about this mushroom - do NOT eat the stems, do NOT eat the spore tubes, and cook them well. Drying them prior to consumption may also reduce some potentials for reactions. We have consumed them multiple times with no ill effects.
If you are eating this mushroom for the first time, or collecting it in a new area, it is recommended that you consume only a small amount, and do not combine it with other unfamiliar or first time mushrooms.
Found mostly at higher altitudes in Aspen groves, this is a mycorrhizal mushroom that depends upon Aspens to fruit. If you have Aspens in your landscaping or property, this is a good mushroom to sow, and they are loved by wildlife and by many people.
Aspen Boletes may be quite large, and look very similar to King Boletes, though the cap on larger mushrooms shinier, oranger on younger mushrooms, and Aspen Boletes bruise gray or black on caps and tubes. They have the same tube type spore surfaces that other Boletes have, which will turn dark gray as they age (Kings turn greenish). They dry well, though they do blacken as they dry, and it is best to peel off the tube surface prior to drying.