Suillus cavipes “Hollow-stemmed Suillus Bolete” Basidiomycota

Seeley Lake, MT
September 13, 2014
Robert Niese

Here’s another bolete from my late summer mushroom-hunting extravaganza in the Larch forests around Seeley Lake. This species, another easily-recognizable bolete in the genus Suillus, is also an ectomycorrhizal symbiont with larch trees (Larix). This species has a dry, very scaly cap that tends to be dark brown in color. Like other members of this genus, it also has angular pores that appear to radiate from the stipe. The best way to confirm the identification of this species, however, is to cut open its stipe and verify that it’s hollow. Unlike other members of this genus, S. cavipes is far more palatable and has a pleasant earthy taste when dried, but, like other Suillus boletes, tends to be slimy when cooked. Here, S. cavipes is growing among Twin-flower (Linnaea borealis), Canadian Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), Prince’s Pine (Chimaphila umbellata), and, of course, Western Larch (Larix occidentalis).

Cornus canadensis “Canadian Bunchberry” Cornaceae

Weir Hot Springs, Clearwater National Forest, ID
June 8, 2015
Robert Niese

Bunchberry is another member of the genus Cornus, but unlike its shrubby cousins, C. sericea and C. nuttallii, this species rarely grows more than a few inches from the ground. And unlike C. sericea, bunchberry flowers are minute, inconspicuous, and subtended by large, white bracts which are often mistaken for petals. It shares this type of inflorescence with the Pacific Dogwood, C. nuttallii. The fruits of the bunchberry, while not particularly tasty, are high in pectin and are often added to jams and puddings.