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Boletus edulis (English: penny bun, cep,
porcino or porcini) is a basidiomycete
fungus, and the type species of the genus
Boletus. Widely distributed in the North-
ern Hemisphere across Europe, Asia, and
North America, it does not occur naturally
in the Southern Hemisphere, although it
has been introduced to southern Africa,
Australia, and New Zealand. Several
closely related European mushrooms
formerly thought to be varieties or forms
of B. edulis have been shown using mol-
ecular phylogenetic analysis to be distinct
species, and others previously classed as
separate species are conspecific with this
species. The western North American
species commonly known as the California
king bolete (Boletus edulis var. grandedulis) is a large, darker-coloured variant first formally identified in 2007.
The fungus grows in deciduous and coniferous forests and tree plantations, forming symbiotic ectomycorrhizal associations with living trees by enveloping the tree's underground roots with sheaths of fungal tissue. The fungus produces spore-bearing fruit bodies above ground in summer and autumn. The fruit body has a large brown cap which on occasion can reach 35 cm (14 in) in diameter and 3 kg (6.6 lb) in weight. Like other boletes, it has tubes extending downward from the underside of the cap, rather than gills; spores escape at maturity through the tube openings, or pores. The pore surface of the B. edulis fruit body is whitish when young, but ages to a greenish-yellow.
The cap of this mushroom is 7–30 cm (2.8–11.8 in) broad at maturity. Slightly sticky to touch, it is convex in shape when young and flattens with age. The colour is generally reddish-brown fading to white in areas near the margin, and continues to darken as it matures. The stipe, or stem, is 8–25 cm (3.1–9.8 in) in height, and up to 7 cm (2.8 in) thick—rather large in comparison to the cap; it is club-shaped, or bulges out in the middle. It is finely reticulate on the upper portion, but smooth or irregularly ridged on the lower part. The under surface of the cap is made of thin tubes, the site of spore production; they are 1 to 2 cm (0.4 to 0.8 in) deep, and whitish in colour when young, but mature to a greenish-yellow.
The angular pores, which do not stain when bruised, are small—roughly 2 to 3 pores per millimetre. In youth, the pores are white and appear as if stuffed with cotton (which are actually mycelia); as they age, they change colour to yellow and later to brown. The spore print is olive brown. The flesh of the fruit body is white, thick and firm when young, but becomes somewhat spongy with age. When bruised or cut, it either does not change colour, or turns a very light brown or light red.