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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E-Flora BC Static Map

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

Habitat and Range

Leccinum atrostipitatum has a generally duller cap that is more scaly when old, paler pores when young, flesh that stains bluish gray with FeSO4, and different caulocystidia, (Bessette). L. atrostipitatum is more definitely associated with birch, the cap has a more patchy appearance at maturity, and "caulocystidia more frequently are fusoid-ventricose with elongated necks"; in one collection at least, the intermediate staining phase of the flesh was redder in L. versipelle, (Smith, discussing L. testaceoscabrum).
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.