Variable-stalk Bolete

(Boletus variipes)

Conservation Status
Variable-stalk Bolete
Photo by AGShep
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Variable-stalk Bolete is a common, large, woodland mushroom. It occurs in the eastern United States from New Hampshire to Florida, west to Minnesota and eastern Texas, and in southern Quebec and Ontario Canada. There is also a disjunct area of occurrence in southern Mexico and Central America. It is common in eastern North America but uncommon in Minnesota, where it reaches the northwestern extent of its range. It is found in late summer and fall, alone, scattered, or close together but not clustered (gregarious), in deciduous and mixed forests. It grows on the ground under hardwood trees, especially oak, but also beech, aspen, and possibly maple. It has a mutually beneficial relationship (mycorrhizal) with the tiny rootlets of trees, absorbing sugars and amino acids while helping the tree absorb water.

As the common name and species epithet suggest, Variable-stalk Bolete is highly variable, in the size, in the cap color, and in the shape and surface texture of the stalk.

When it first appears, the cap is convex, dry, and covered with fine, velvety hairs. The color may be buff, tan, yellowish-brown, or grayish-brown. As it ages it becomes broadly convex to almost flat. Mature caps are 2½ to 8 (6 to 20 cm) in diameter and the upper surface is cracked or finely patched.

The stalk is mostly grayish-brown to dark brown, whitish just near the top and bottom. It is stout, often pot-bellied (bulbous), 3 to 6¼ (8 to 15 cm) long, and to 1 (1.0 to 3.5 cm) thick. It may be swollen in the middle, enlarged toward the base, narrowed at both ends, or more or less equal from top to bottom. The surface is usually prominently covered with a network of whitish or brownish ridges (reticulate), especially noticeable near the top. Sometimes the reticulation is reduced or fine.

When young, the pore surface is white, and the pores appear full. There are 1 or 2 pores per millimeter, and the pore tubes are to 1¼ (1 to 3 cm) deep. The pore surface becomes yellowish or olive with age.

The flesh of the cap and stem is white. It does not change color when bruised or cut. It is edible when young, but like other boletes, mature specimens are often riddled with maggots.

The spore print is olive-brown.


Similar Species

Habitat and Hosts

Mixed and deciduous forests

Oak and beech




Late summer and fall


Distribution Map



4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.




Uncommon in Minnesota

  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Boletales (boletes and allies)  
  Suborder Boletineae  


Boletaceae (boletes)  
  Subfamily Boletoideae  


Boletus (porcini and allies)  





Common Names


Variable-stalk Bolete












In mushrooms, growing close together but not clustered.



A symbiotic, usually beneficial relationship between a fungus and the tiny rootlets of a plant, usually a tree.





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    Variable-stalk Bolete   Variable-stalk Bolete  
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Location: Isanti County

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Variable-stalk Bolete







Created: 9/22/2022

Last Updated:

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