Updated: Jan 31
I would hazard at guess that this may be the most commonly recognized edible wild mushroom in the Southern Rocky Mountains. It goes by many names: porcini, king bolete or 'king', Rocky Mountain red-capped bolete, Rocky Mountain red, penny bun, or often just simply 'bolete'. You may also see people mistakenly refer to this mushroom as B. edulis because it was actually classified as B. edulis until 2014 when David Arora and Jonathan Frank published a paper that distinguished our Rocky Mountain porcini as it's own species! (https://www.pnwfungi.org/index.php/pnwfungi/article/view/1267)
This species holds a special place in my heart! When I started mushroom hunting around age 10 this was the first species that we looked for; my introduction to the world of fungi.
This is a great mushroom for beginners to learn because they're often plentiful and easy to find, they're simple to identify if you follow a couple rules, and they're delicious! In the rest of this post we will go over the main characteristics of the Rocky Mountain red, where and when to look for them, common look-a-likes and the traits that differentiate them, and anything else that I think you should know about this species!
Boletus rubriceps is a stout mushroom with convex cap that is reddish brown in color and often slightly sticky or "greasy" when fresh. It has a robust stem, pale cream to white in color with white or sometimes light pinkish reticulations (net-shaped patterns). The spore-bearing structures are sponge-like pores. They are white in young specimens but progress to yellow and eventually greenish brown as the mushroom matures. The flesh is white and does not stain when cut, though it can be accidentally stained during cutting by pulling some of the cap or pore color through with the knife.