Suillus bovinus (L.) Roussel - Bovine Bolete

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Boletales - Family: Suillaceae

Suillus bovinus - Bovine Bolete, or Jersey Cow Bolete

Suillus bovinus occurs beneath pine trees, often beside forest paths, in clearings and at the edges of woods. This edible bolete often appears in large groups. When you find Bovine Boletes under pine trees, look closely and you may also find Gomphidius roseus, the Rosy Spike. This gilled member of the order Boletales forms a three-way relationship involving the Bovine Bolete and the roots of pine trees. (Boletus bovinus is mycorrhizal with pines; the Rosy Spike's role in this relationship is thought to be parasitic.)

A group of Bovine Boletes, Algarve, southern Scotland


Common throughout Britain and Ireland, Suillus bovinus also occurs in pine forested areas throughout mainland Europe. It is often found together with Gomphidius roseus, the Rosy Spike.

Taxonomic history

When Carl Linnaeus described the mushroom in 1755, he named it Boletus bovinus. In 1796 French physician and naturalist Henri François Anne de Roussel (1748 - 1812) transferred this species to the Suillus genus and so its accepted scientific name became Suillus bovinus.

Suillus bovinus, Hampshire UK


The Bovine Bolete gets its common name and its specific epithet from its similarity (in colour only!) to a Jersey Cow. The generic name Suillus means of pigs (swine) and is a reference to the greasy nature of the caps of fungi in this genus.

Suillus bovinus is a gregarious bolete, often crowding togeter in tufts - a most un-bolete-like behaviour - so that caps become lopsided and distorted from pressing against one another, as in the picture above which was taken in late December under pine trees in the hills near Picota in the Algarve region of southern Portugal.

Identification Guide

Cap of Suillus bovinus


3 to 10cm across and often irregular and wavy at the margin, the caps of Suillus bovinus vary from pale yellow to deep orange, usually somewhat paler at the margin. Many specimens have clay brown caps, from which characteristic the former common name Jersey Cow Bolete derives.

When cut, the white to clay pink flesh of the cap does not change colour.

Pore surface of Suillus bovinus

Tubes and Pores

The tubes terminate in large compound pores (divided into usually two compartments). The pores are yellow, becoming grey-green and turning darker when bruised.

Nearer to the stem the pores are progressively more elongated, and at the point of attachment the tubes are sometimes slightly decurrent to the stem.

Stem of Boletus bovinus


Club-shaped in young specimens, the clay-coloured stipe of Suillus bovinus soon becomes more or less parallel sided; it is typically 6 to 10mm in diameter and 5 to 8cm tall and, unlike many members of the Suillus genus, it does not have a stem ring.

The whitish stem flesh has a pink tinge near the base of the stem.

Spores of Suillus bovinus


Subfusiform, smooth, 8-10 x 3-4μm.

Spore print

Olive-green or brown.


Slightly fruity odour and a faintly sweet taste.

Habitat & Ecological role

Ectoycorrhizal, usually beneath Scots Pine but also with other many other kinds of pines and sometimes with other conifers; often beside woodland paths and in small clearings rather than in deep forest shade.


August to November in Britain and Ireland; an extended season in countries further south in Europe.

Similar species

Suillus granulatus has milky droplets beneath its cap and it has simple rather than compound pores.

Suillus bovinus - Bovine Bolete, or Jersey Cow Bolete, Ireland

Culinary Notes

Although not generally rated very highly, the Bovine Bolete is reported to be edible when thoroughly cooked (but then so are most parts of a Jersey Cow!).

This common mushroom could possibly be confused with some other members of the genus Suillus - Suillus grevillei, for example - but this is not a great problem because all members of the Suillus genus that occur in Britain and Ireland, at least, are reported as being edible.

Bovine Boletes could therefore be used in any recipe calling for Slippery Jack boletes (Suillus luteus), noting that to reduce the risk of a reaction to these mushrooms some people have found it advisable to discard the cap skin of all species from the Suillus genus.

Suillus bovinus - Bovine Bolete, or Jersey Cow Bolete, England


This page incl;udes pictures kindly contributed by David Kelly

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd Edition, Pat O'Reilly 2016, reprinted by Coch-y-bonddu Books in 2022.

British Boletes, with keys to species, Geoffrey Kibby (self published) 3rd Edition 2012

Roy Watling & Hills, A.E. 2005. Boletes and their allies (revised and enlarged edition), – in: Henderson, D.M., Orton, P.D. & Watling, R. [eds]. British Fungus Flora. Agarics and boleti. Vol. 1. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi.

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