What You Should Know
Strobilomyces strobilaceus aka Strobilomyces Floccopus is a species of fungus in the family Boletaceae. It is native to Europe and North America. Fruit bodies are characterized by very soft dark grey to black pyramidal and overlapping scales on the cap surface.
This mushroom blends in with the background landscape of the woods and forests and can be sometimes challenging to find. As it ages, it becomes darker and resembles a pine cone rather than the mushroom, and is quite resistant to decay, unlike other fungi in the Boletaceae family. It appears as pale with black woolly tufts dotted across the surface of the cap, like a cracked black and white dome.
Strobilomyces strobilaceus is native to Europe and North America. Also found in Canada, Japan, Iran, and Taiwan. Rarely found in the United Kingdom, and may preferentially grow in Northern Europe. This mushroom is edible, preferably harvested when young; although it may have little culinary value.
Other names: Old Man Of The Woods, Šiškovec Šupinatý (Slovakia), Melnā Zvīņbeka (Latvia), Шишкогриб Хлопьеножковый (Russia), Szyszkowiec Łuskowaty (Poland), Stubbelkopf-Röhrling (Switzerland), Bolet Pomme De Pin (France), Starac Iz Šume (Serbia), Oni-Iguchi (Japan), Tikrasis Žvynbaravykis (Lithuania), Geschubde Boleet (Netherlands), Soomuspuravik (Estonia), Šiškovec Černý (Czech Republic).
Strobilomyces strobilaceus Mushroom Identification
Mycorrhizal with hardwoods, especially oaks; common; summer and fall; primarily distributed in eastern North America but also recorded from the Southwest.
3-15 cm; convex becoming broadly convex in age; dry; covered with large, black, soft, woolly scales over a whitish to grayish base color; the margin frequently with hanging remnants of a whitish to grayish partial veil.
Whitish, becoming gray to black; bruising red, then black; pores angular, 1-3 per mm; tubes to 2 cm deep.
4-12 cm long; 1-2.5 cm thick; more or less equal; grayish to blackish; shaggy; sometimes reticulate near the apex; often with an ephemeral ring or ring zone; solid.
Whitish throughout, turning pinkish to red when exposed, then blackening over an hour.
Ammonia yellowish to negative on flesh. KOH reddish, then brownish orangish on flesh. Iron salts bluish-gray to greenish on flesh.
Blackish brown to black.
Spores 7-15 x 7-12 µ (including ornamentation); globose to broadly ellipsoid; with ornamentation of ridges and lines forming a complete reticulum. Pleurocystidia abundant; 17-90 x 8-26 µ; fusiform to mucronate; with brown contents. Pileipellis a trichoderm with cylindric terminal elements 4-18 µ wide.
Strobilomyces strobilaceus Taxonomy and Etymology
This oddball bolete was described in 1770 by Italian mycologist Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, who gave it the binomial scientific name Boletus strobilaceus. It was the British mycologist Miles Joseph Berkeley who in 1851 transferred this species to the genus Strobilomyces (which Berkeley himself had created in that year).
Strobilomyces strobilaceus is the type species of the genus Strobilomyces.
Synonyms of Strobilomyces strobilaceus include Boletus strobilaceus Scop., Boletus strobiliformis Dicks., Boletus floccopus Vahl, Boletus cinereus Pers., Strobilomyces floccopus (Vahl) P. Karst., and Strobilomyces strobiliformis (Vill.) Beck.
Strobilomyces comes from an ancient Greek word strobilos, meaning a pine cone, and is a reference to the similarity in appearance between caps boletoid mushrooms in this genus and the cones from pine trees. The specific epithet strobilaceus comes from the same root and is perhaps a rather tautologous reference to the pine-cone-like appearance of this particular species.
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