E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Leccinum versipelle (Fr.) Snell
orange birch bolete

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi
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Distribution of Leccinum versipelle
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Species Information

Features include 1) a bright orange cap that fades to dull orange then pinkish tan, 2) flesh that stains reddish then purple-gray to blackish and with FeSO4 turns bright green, 3) a stem with dense black scabers when young and when old, and 4) growth under hardwoods. Bessette(3) uses the name L. testaceoscabrum but notes that according to Breitenbach(3) the correct name is Leccinum versipelle (Fr.) Snell. The online Species Fungorum, accessed January 9, 2014, also uses the name Leccinum versipelle.

The distribution is northeastern N. America west to the Pacific Northwest and to AK where it is abundant, (Bessette). There is a collection from BC determined by W. Snell at Pacific Forestry Centre (as Boletus versipellis).
4-10cm, convex, margin with tissue, at least when young; bright reddish orange then dull orange with rose tinge, fading to pinkish tan when old; dry, nearly bald, (Bessette), 4-10cm, convex becoming broadly convex; dull orange with a tint of rose and when dried a dull "orange-cinnamon" (Ridgway color); dry and obscurely fibrillose when young, practically bald as well as subviscid when mature; margin with hanging remnants at first, (Smith)
"white, staining reddish, then purple-gray to blackish when exposed", especially where stem meets cap, (Bessette), firm when young; white, "when cut staining reddish and then changing to avellaneous and finally fuscous", (Smith)
2-3 per mm, round; "whitish to olive-buff or pale grayish when young", becoming dingy brown when old, bruising olive to olive-brown or darker; tube layer 0.8-1.6cm thick, depressed near stem when old, (Bessette), olive-pallid before dingy brown, "when lightly bruised staining olive, if severely bruised changing to fuscous"; tube layer 1.5cm thick, depressed around stem, whitish then olivaceous-pallid, (Smith)
5-12cm x 1-1.6cm, nearly equal, solid; with dense layer of black scabers when young and when mature, on a whitish ground, sometimes with bluish stains near base; dry; partial veil and ring absent, (Bessette), 5-10cm x 1-1.5cm, equal or nearly so; pallid to white ground color, scabers typically blackish in buttons, with slight flush of reddish around the dark squamules, (Smith)
Chemical Reactions:
flesh bright green with application of FeSO4 (Bessette)
not distinctive (Bessette, Smith)
not distinctive (Bessette, Smith)
spores 13-18 x 3.5-5 microns, subfusoid [somewhat spindle-shaped] to elongate subelliptic, smooth, ochraceous; caulocystidia "clavate, clavate-mucronate or sometimes fusoid-ventricose with pale fuscous content in KOH", (Bessette), spores (12)13-16(18) x 3.5-4.5 microns, subfusoid to elongate-subelliptic, smooth, ochraceous in KOH or Melzer''s, wall -0.5 micron thick; basidia 4-spored 22-30 x 9-11 microns, clavate, colorless; pleurocystidia 33-45 x 9-14 microns, fusoid-ventricose with subacute apex, walls thin and colorless, content in KOH colorless to brownish, in Melzer''s dark brown, cheilocystidia similar but smaller and many basidiole-like cells also present; cap cuticle of appressed hyphae 6-15(18) microns wide, walls thin and often minutely roughened with colorless plates, cells readily disarticulating, mostly more than 5 times as long as broad, some short cells more or less oval in outline also present, end-cells ventricose to bullet-shaped, content of cells "slowly forming irregular pigment masses and finally globules 3-10 microns in diameter in Melzer''s"; caulocystidia 40-80 x10-18 microns, clavate, clavate-mucronate or fusoid-ventricose, content pale fuscous in KOH or some pigment also in wall; clamp connections absent, (Smith)
Spore Deposit:
brown (Bessette)

Habitat / Range

scattered or in groups under beech, oak, or birch, July to September, (Bessette), summer, fall, (Bacon)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Leccinum testaceoscabrum (Secr.) Singer
Pisolithus arenarius Alb. & Schwein.
Pisolithus tinctorius (Pers.) Coker & Couch Gasteromycetes E.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


suspected to cause gastric distress in some people, (Bessette)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Bessette(3)* (as L. testaceoscabrum), Smith(35) (as L. testaceoscabrum), Sept(1)* (as L. testaceoscabrum), Breitenbach(3)*, Both(1), Bacon(1)*, AroraPocket* (as L. testaceoscabrum), Buczacki(1)*

References for the fungi

General References