Strobilomyces strobilaceus

Strobilomyces strobilaceus
Image Courtesy of Dan Guravich
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Group of Fungi: Boletes

Family: Boletaceae

Latin Name: Strobilomyces strobilaceus (Scop.) Berk.

Common Name: Old Man of the Woods.

Description: Total height 2–5 in (5–12.5 cm); cap 2–6 in (5–15 cm) wide, hemispherical at first but becoming flattened in age; upper surface dry, densely covered with coarse, black, woolly scales; lower surface of cap white to grayish white, becoming darker in age, staining red when bruised, pores angular; stalk 1 5/8–4 3/4 (4–12 cm) long,1/2–3/4 in (1.3–2 cm) in diameter, sometimes slightly enlarged at the base, woolly, scaly, dark gray; annulus present as a shaggy, gray ring on the stalk; spores black in mass.

Biological Role: Forms mycorrhizal associations with forest trees, especially oaks.

Habitat: On the ground under oaks and other broadleaf trees or more rarely conifers; often solitary but also occurring in scattered groups.

Geographical Distribution: Found throughout eastern North America.

Comments: Strobilomyces strobilaceus is a truly distinctive fungus that is quite unlike anything else that one is likely to encounter in the forests of eastern North America. Strobilomyces confusus is an almost identical species that can be reliably distinguished only on the basic of microscopic features. The fruiting bodies of Strobilomyces strobilaceus are unusually resistant to decay and may persist as old, dry "ghosts" for several weeks.

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