The king boletes have taken their time before appearing this year, despite good rainfall in July and occasional rains in the first ten days of August. It may be that the very dry winter significantly stressed the underground mycelium, which had to recharge itself rather thirstily before giving us the gift of its fruiting bodies.
But today we are pleased to report that the king boletes are back! Not only did we get some gorgeous pictures of the red-capped Boletus edulis of the Rocky Mountains, which supposedly may be renamed B. “rubriceps”, but a good number of the more rare white kings (Barrows’ boletes, B. barrowsii) were also discovered yesterday.
The first gallery comes from Laurie Herring and Ed Coleman, who explored the area around Big Lake (9000 feet elevation) in the White Mountains yesterday. They found several B. edulis, as well as half a dozen B. barrowsii of varying sizes.
In addition, they discovered a quantity of aspen boletes, Leccinum insigne; several “Blushers”, Amanita rubescens a.k.a. A. novinupta; and some yellow-gilled members of our local member of the Amanita caesareae complex, provisionally designated by some amanitologists as A. “cochiseana”. Finally, they ran across some specimens of the conspicuous red and white-capped fly agaric, A. muscaria, of recent fame in the pages of Arizona Highways magazine.
The second set of king bolete pictures from the White Mountains was sent today by Matthias Kwaski. It looks like he and his companions worked very hard yesterday climbing the foothills of Mt. Baldy up to about 9500 feet elevation, near the headwaters of the Little Colorado River. Matthias reports relatively sparse fruiting, with a total of 30 young king boletes discovered by 5 foragers in several hours of searching. They also found a dozen aspen boletes.
A big “Well done” to both parties. Several days of good monsoon rains are in the forecast, which bodes well for more bolete production, and I would surely be going up to the same area this coming weekend if I were not already scheduled to go to Telluride for the annual Mushroom Festival. I just hope the rain and mushroom fruitings can be sustained until the Arizona Mushroom Club foray the following weekend.