Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

bolete (or boletus) a general name for a large group of edible fungi which includes the genus Boletus. The most highly esteemed members of this genus are described under cep, a name properly applied to them alone, although often used more loosely (but not current in the USA, where every species in the group is a ‘boletus’ or ‘bolete’).

As explained under mushroom, there is a fundamental difference between an agaric and a bolete, immediately apparent to anyone looking under their caps. An agaric, such as the common field mushroom, has gills in the form of fine, radiating ‘plates’. A bolete has instead a mass of tubes, looking rather like foam rubber. The tubes terminate in pores, which may be very fine or quite coarse. (The group of polypores also has these tubes, but is distinguished from the boletus group by other features.)