Boletellus obscurecoccineus

Boletellus obscurecoccineus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Boletales
Family: Boletaceae
Genus: Boletellus
Species: B. obscurecoccineus
Binomial name
Boletellus obscurecoccineus
(Höhn.) Singer (1945)
  • Boletus obscurecoccineus Höhn. (1914)
  • Boletus puniceus W.F.Chiu (1948)
  • Xerocomus puniceus (W.F.Chiu) F.L.Tai (1979)
  • Boletus megasporus W.Zang (1980)
  • Boletellus puniceus (W.F.Chiu) X.H.Wang & P.G.Liu (2002)

Boletellus obscurecoccineus,[nb 1] known as the rhubarb bolete, is a species of fungus in the family Boletaceae, found in Australia, New Guinea, Java, Borneo, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. It is a distinctive and colourful bolete of the forest floor.


Boletellus obscurecoccineus was originally collected in Java and described by Franz Xaver Rudolf von Höhnel in 1914,[2] and placed in the genus Boletellus by Rolf Singer in 1945.[3] In 2011, Nian-Kai Zeng and Zhu L. Yang synonymised the Asian species Boletus puniceus and Boletus megasporus with Boletellus obscurecoccineus.[1] Boletus puniceus, originally described from Kunming (Yunnan, China) in 1948,[4] and later transferred to Xerocomus in 1979[5] and Boletellus in 2002,[6] was already suspected by E.J.H. Corner in 1972 as being conspecific with B. obscurecoccineus in his monograph on Malaysian boletes.[7] Boletus megasporus was described from the Xizang Autonomous Region of China in 1980.[8] Comparison of the type specimens revealed no significant morphological differences between B. obscurecoccineus and B. megasporus.[1]


A brightly coloured and distinctive bolete, Boletellus obscurecoccineus has a rose-red or rhubarb-coloured, hemispherical to convex cap to a diameter of 7 cm (3 in), with an overhanging margin when young. The cap may crack in older specimens, and reveal the yellow flesh beneath. The adnexed pores are five- or six-sided and yellow. They bruise blue in some specimens (although not generally in Western Australia). The narrow stipe lacks a ring, and may reach 9.5 cm (3.7 in) tall with a diameter of 2 cm (0.8 in). It is reddish and scaled overall, fading to yellow under the cap. The spore print is a dark brown. The mycelium is white.[9] There is no significant odour and the taste is mild. Under the microscope, the elongated pale yellow spores measure 14.5–19.5 by 6–7.5 μm.[10]

Similar species

Similar-looking African collections initially reported as Boletellus obscurecoccineus have been redescribed as Boletellus rubrolutescens.[11] The North American and European species Boletus rubellus has colouration that is somewhat similar to B. obscurecoccineus, but it lacks the scaly stem of the latter.[12]

Habitat and distribution

The distribution includes Korea,[13] New Guinea, Java, Borneo, Japan,[14] and Taiwan.[15] Within Australia, the rhubarb bolete has been recorded from southwestern Western Australia, and the southeast of New South Wales, and into Victoria and Tasmania.[10]

The rhubarb bolete is an ectomycorrhizal species, found in the leaf litter of eucalyptus forests in Australia, and with oak and other deciduous trees in Asia.[12] Fruit bodies appear over the summer and autumn, from July to November.[9]

Despite its English name, whether this mushroom is safe to eat is unknown; however, the boletes are not a deadly poisonous mushroom variety, although many individuals get gastrointestinal distress from certain species, particularly species with red pigmentation.[10]


  1. Orthographic variant spellings include Boletellus obscure-coccineus and Boletellus obscurecoccineus.


  1. 1 2 3 Zeng N-K, Yang ZL (2011). "Notes on two species of Boletellus (Boletaceae, Boletales) from China" (PDF). Mycotaxon. 115: 413–23. doi:10.5248/115.413.
  2. von Höhnel F. (1914). "Fragmente zur Mykologie XVI". Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, Abt. I (in German). 123: 88.
  3. Singer R. (1945). "The Boletineae of Florida with notes on extralimital species. I. The Strobilomycetaceae". Farlowia. 2 (2): 97–141.
  4. Chiu WF (1948). "The Boletes of Yunnan". Mycologia. 40 (2): 199–231 (see p. 217). doi:10.2307/3755085.
  5. Tai FL (1979). "Sylloge Fungorum Sinicorum" (in Chinese). Peking, China: Science Press, Academica Sinica: 815.
  6. Wang XH, Liu PG (2002). "Notes on several boleti from Yunnan, China". Mycotaxon. 84: 125–34.
  7. Corner EJH (1972). Boletus in Malaysia. Singapore: Government Printing Office.
  8. Zang M. (1980). "Some new species of Basidiomycetes from the Xizang Autonomous Region of China". Acta Microbiologica Sinica (in Chinese). 20 (1): 29–34.
  9. 1 2 Grey P. (2005). Fungi Down Under: The Fungimap Guide to Australian Fungi. Melbourne: Royal Botanic Gardens. p. 62. ISBN 0-646-44674-6.
  10. 1 2 3 Bougher NL, Syme K (1998). Fungi of Southern Australia. Nedlands, WA: UWA Press. pp. 304–05. ISBN 1-875560-80-7.
  11. "Boletellus rubrolutescens Heinem. & Rammeloo". Index Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
  12. 1 2 Roberts P, Evans S (2011). The Book of Fungi. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-226-72117-0.
  13. An Y-H. (1998). "Notes on Korean Strobilomycetaceae (II) – On Boletellus". Korean Journal of Mycology. 26 (2): 211–29.
  14. Hongo T. (1970). "Notulae mycologicae part 9". Memoirs of the Faculty of Education Shiga University Natural Science (20): 49–54.
  15. Chen C-M, Huang H-W, Yeh K-W (1997). "The boletes of Taiwan". Taiwania. 41 (2): 154–60.
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