What You Should Know
Neoboletus praestigiator is a great edible mushroom if well cooked but great caution should be taken in distinguishing it from any toxic Boletes, not a mushroom we recommend for the novice forager. This species bruises very easily, and when young and fresh has a very vivid color, but as it matures the bright red pores and stem can become more muted in color.
As with many boletes, it is important to check the stem flesh when fresh, in this case, to make sure there is no red in the flesh near the stem base to eliminate some look-alikes.
Other names: Scarletina Bolete.
Neoboletus praestigiator Mushroom Identification
Between 5 - 20cm wide, the cap can appear in various tones of brown from very pale to very dark. Starting dome-shaped, it flattens with age. It is downy at first and ages to have a smoother surface
Pores and Tubes
The tightly-packed pores start orange, then age to bright red and eventually red-brown. The tubes are yellow. Both the pores and tubes turn deep blue, almost black when cut or bruised
The stout stem is 4 - 15cm tall and 2 - 5cm wide. It is covered in tiny red dots but has a pale area just below where it meets the cap. It does not have a ring or skirt
The flesh is pale yellow and quickly turns dark blue when cut or bruised.
Odor and Taste
The smell is slightly earthy and the taste mild.
Olive-brown. Subfusiform to ellipsoid.
Neoboletus praestigiator Look-Alikes
Has a distinctive red reticulated network around the stem, not the dots that are on the Scarletina Bolete. The Lurid Bolete also prefers more alkaline soils.
Could be confused for this species but that species has a beetroot red color in the stem flesh near the base, the Scarletina Bolete does not.
Neoboletus praestigiator Taxonomy
Recent books list it as “Neoboletus luridiformis” but “luridiformis” isn’t a valid name under scientific rules either, and apparently “Boletus praestigiator” was the first valid description of this species. Newer books published after 2017 should be naming it as “Neoboletus praestigiator”.
Furthermore, the Neoboletus group has a second species, currently named Neoboletus xanthopus, that is extremely similar to the Scarletina Bolete and impossible to differentiate without DNA analysis.
Photo 1 - Author: gailhampshire from Cradley, Malvern, U.K (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Photo 2 - Author: Davide Puddu (Davide Puddu) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 3 - Author: gailhampshire from Cradley, Malvern, U.K (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Photo 4 - Author: Wilhelm Zimmerling PAR (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)