Brown Birch Bolete – Leccinum scabrum

Fungi of the Week

1st May 2020 | Info

Common name: Brown Birch Bolete 

Scientific name: Leccinum scabrum 

Introduction: The Brown Birch Bolete (Leccinum scabrum) is a UK-native fungus that is ectomycorrhizal with Birch trees (Betula spp.). They typically form between July and November and can be challenging to identify.  


Cap: The caps of a Brown Birch Bolete can vary both in colour and shapeTypically, caps will form in various shades of brown that can have red or grey tints to them. When young, you will find that the caps are finely tomentose and hemispherical in shape and that as the fruiting body matures, they become smoother and begin to flattenThey can also develop wavy margins. 

Tubes/Pores: Brown Birch Bolete have off-white coloured tubes that are broadly adnexed to the stem. The tubes of the fungus end with pores that are similarly off-white in colour and occasionally have brown spots. When bruised, you will typically find that the pores tend to turn browner.  

Stem: The white or yellowish-brown stems of the fungus can grow to be quite tall (between 7-20cm) and can be quite thick (typically up to 3cm). Young fruiting bodies tend to have more barrel-shaped stems which then become more regularly shaped in diameter as they mature, narrowing slightly towards the cap. The stems are also covered in dark-brown floccules that get coarser towards the lower end of the stem. 

Stem Flesh: The stem flesh of a Brown Birch Bolete is typically white in colour but can turn a slight pinky shade if cut into or broken.  

Spores: Spores have a deep greeny-brown spore print and are narrowly ellipsoidal to subfusiform in shape. They also have thin walls and vacuole inclusions.

Habitat/Impact on Trees

Forming between July and November, the Brown Birch Bolete is ectomycorrhizal with Birch, meaning that they exclusively only form underneath Birch trees. Typically, you will find that they are nearly always found beneath Silver Birch (Betula pendula) or Downy Birch (Betula pubescens) trees in the UK 

[Fruiting body of a Birch Bolete]


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