Suillus species- Slippery Jack et al.

suillusThis fungus is always associated with pine trees and emerges in huge numbers in pine forests all over the country.   There are two common species, S. granulatus, the normal one where I am and S. luteus, which is more common up near Perth.  The main difference is that the former has no ring on the stem.

Although this mushroom is much collected by people of European background, and turned into pickles,  it is not something that I am fond of.   I find that it leaves a rather unpleasant after-taste.   It is usually peeled and it benefits from drying out before use in cooking to prevent it turning into a slimy mess.

Footnote:  I tried some S. luteus last night (25 April, 2010) in a kind 0f stroganoff.  The dish was pleasant enough, but the after-taste was there again, lingering for a couple of hours.  It is a pity, as these are so plentiful.

Footnote 2: 20 June 2015.  The practice of peeling slippery jacks appears to have a sound basis.  This report indicates that the slimy cap contains a rather strong toxin that is heat stable and not extracted by boiling water.

Footnote 3: 28 April 2016

There has been some suggestion that smaller specimens are firmer than larger specimens.  To investigate this, I picked some fresh S. granulatus and dried them on a wire rack over the wood stove, without peeling them.  The results are shown in the graph below.   It can be seen that there is a clear linear relationship between the wet and dry weights and that the dry material is about 6.5% of the wet weight.  In other words, they are 93.5% water.  In other words, there is no evidence that the smaller specimens are more solid than the large ones.

None of the specimens appeared overtly wet.  Perhaps if there had been more rain, they might have had a higher moisture content.   By comparison, oyster mushrooms are reported to have between 70 and 95% moisture contentAgaricus bisporus is reported to have a moisture content of between 88.6 and 91.3 percent.  That means that the Agaricus mushrooms are about 60 percent more substantial than the Suillus.

moisture content

There are quite a few different species of Suillus to be found in the pine plantations of Western Australia. These include: Suillus luteus, Suillus quiescens, Suillus salmonicolor and Suillus collinitis. There are others that are difficult to identify to species level without DNA work. Below are a few examples of some that I have found.

Suillus salmonicolor

This one grows in one particular area of one pine forest and I have not been able to identify it. I have named it ‘silverback’ because of the silver grey colour of the cap.

Suillus ‘silverback

Suillus species display a range of colours. This one had bright red staining on the stipe and a light blue on the flesh inside the cap.

Suillus ‘red and blue
Suillus ‘dotty’

The spores of Suillus are rather acicular. Below is an image of the spores of what I believe to be Suillus quiescens. The size is 7.1 x 2.7 microns.


22 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Dave Freer said,

    Oh boy, there goes another lot my time – I can see I’m going to have to read back a long way on your blog. Good stuff – I blundered in via search for information about Slippery Jacks . We’re ex-South Africans – settled on Flinders island, Tasmania, and keen foragers. I found two little mushrooms under the pines that looked rather like our Boletus edulis from back in South Africa’s pine forests – They had pores but were a bit more mushroom-tent shaped, and without a velum – I think this is S. granulatus… but strange country and I am wary about mushrooms. Are there any other dangerous look-alikes?

    • 2

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Dave,

      I am not aware of any dangerous look-alikes for Slippery Jacks. I have seen a third species in Tasmania, though, years ago. Can’t recall the details but it might have been S. amabilis.

      The boletes in general are not known to contain any deadly species that I know of, though there are some that will make you sick. The boletes in Australia are largely untried and many have not even been named. There are some who swear that they have found Boletus edulis, but I am not aware of any genuine records of them. The slippery jacks are the only boletes that are commonly eaten. I tried some S. luteus last night, cooked up into a kind of stroganoff, but the after-taste got to me again.

      Flinders Island. Sounds like an interesting spot. Another internet contact grew up there and is in the process of selling a house.

      You will find a more complete list of edible fungi in the bushfood forum, where I published it in two parts under the name Mycke.

      • 3

        Dave Freer said,

        Thank you very much for that information. Much appreciated. Boletus satanas appears to be the most threatening according what I have read. Given the location of these (under pines) I pretty sure they’re probably not indigenous. I’ve joined the bushfood forum.

        The island has a population of around 750 so very likely I’ll meet/have met your other contact.

        Now on the subject of eating boletes — I am of the firm belief they’re not really best eaten fresh. However if you can bother to slice them and lightly salt to draw out moisture and then dry them, the reconstitued mushroom can be quite useful in cooking — the key I think is not to rehydrate them too much, and to use hydrating solutions which mask the unpleasant flavours, and bring out the mushroom’s best. My best with the boletus from back in South Africa was to use vin santo (a sweet fortified wine) and thyme to soak them in. I did this until they were soft-but-firm, and then would typically stir them into steaming rice. It was worth it flavourwise, and as they were occassionally overwhelmingly common, worth the effort.

        BTW I desperately envy your morels – I’ve never even seen one, let alone tasted it.


      • 4

        Stephen said,

        Slippery jack mushrooms taste best(no after taste) when young & take the cap skin off, which is easy to do if you wet them, then place a paper towel on them wait, then the skin just peels right off!!

  2. 5

    morrie2 said,

    Thanks for that cooking hint, Dave. I tried to post a comment on your blog but it failed for some reason. I notice that your S. granulatus are a lot smaller than the ones I get here. Mine are normally 100mm or more in diameter.

    There are bound to be more edible boletes out there. The Aborigines used to eat them, but we have lost the knowledge.

  3. 6

    kverkusrobur said,

    Thank you for your blog. I am from Europe and love mushroom hunting. Did not find much information about people collecting edible mushrooms in Western Australia, although I know this is a popular activity in the East. Last year I found some, most likely, S. granulatus near Dwellingup. Looking forward to explore pine plantations this year. Would you suggest good places to look at around Pemberton?

    • 7

      morrie2 said,

      There are a few people around here who eat Suillus. Mainly Europeans.
      You could look around the Arboretum at Big Brook Dam for Suillus luteus. You can also see them on the pine trees on the southern exit road.

  4. 9

    hi I found today quit a few mushrooms one of them i think is definitely a slippery jack and the other one i’m petty sure is a Boletus subtomentosus (in German: Ziegenlippe) and with the third one i’m not really sure. when i saw them first I thought that it is a Boletus edulis but then I had a look underneath and the colour of the sponge is more brown then white/light yellow the cap is a dark brown and a while after i picked them the stamp got more dark then it was before. Here the link with the photos:
    Oh and i found them in western Australia ca 400 km south of perth… would be good if i can get other opinions on that or maybe links of web sides that could help since there are not many infos here in Australia about wild mushrooms.. 🙁
    Thanks guys 😉

    • 10

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Julia,

      Yes, it does appear that you have found a slippery jack. They are quite common around Nannup, always associated with pine trees as your photo shows.

      I am not familiar with B. subtomentosus, though now that you mention it, I read in Wiki that it occurs in Australia so I will look out for it.

      The boletes of Europe grow in association with the roots of deciduous or coniferous trees. In Australia, we have only a handful of native deciduous and coniferous trees, so we have a different population of boletes. These are not well documented and can be extremely difficult to identify. While boletes are mostly not poisonous, there is a well documented case of a woman dying from eating a bolete that she thought she recognised as an edible species from Europe. I make mention of it in my blog. So I would urge caution. It is highly unlikely that you will find Boletus edulis and most of the other edible species from the Northern Hemisphere growing in Australia. If you do, they will most likely be growing on introduced trees.

      There is very little information on edible boletes in Australia. The little information that exists is from Europeans who have eaten things that they thought they recognised from their homeland. Mostly, I think it is a case of mistaken identity and they were lucky not to meet the same fate as the woman mentioned above. These experiences are not documented, but exist mainly as anecdotes. A local man of Italian decent is going to show me a bolete that he and his father used to eat, this season.

      There are a few other resources on the web that mention edible fungi in Australia, but the information you seek does not really exist here. I am slowly trying to accumulate information on the edible species and am always interested to get new information. I would like to know where you found the mushroom that you think is B. subtomentosus. I am quite close to Nannup. A drop of ammonia should produce a red reaction if it is B. subtomentosus.



      • 11

        jsunlau said,

        I know this is an old thread but…I found this link in ref to Boletus edulis in SA
        Mentions Teresa Lebel who is employed by the Gov to test native truffles for edibility.

      • 12

        morrie2 said,

        I am familiar with that paper by the Catchesides. I passed that on last year and some of the guys went hunting in the Adelaide hills with quite a bit of success. I remember meeting Teresa at a Fungimap conference about a decade ago and IIRC she had one edible native truffle identified.

        It is probably worth keeping an eye out in arboretums for other occurrences of B. edulis. You never know. It would be nice if this is what colonised some of our extensive pine plantations, rather than the very mediocre Suillus.

  5. 13

    Levi said,

    Suillus in Australia –
    S. luteus
    S. salmonicolor
    S. grevillei
    S. lakei
    S. brevipes
    S. bovinus
    S. punctatipes
    S. granulatus
    S. subacerbus

    You guy will be interested in this newsletter –

    • 14

      morrie2 said,

      Thanks Levi,

      That guide is a useful one with some good photos and descriptions.

      It took a long time to download, but that might just be my satellite connection.



  6. 15

    Levi said,

    Also I only ever cook Suillus sp. in a non-stick pan (I usually don’t like them) if not putting in a creamy pasta. When I cooked them in a metal pan the mushroom turns black and changes colour and texture goes slimey. When I cook in non-stick with a bit of virgin olive oil they cookup golden brown and have a texture like Shitake. Cheap oil that has been pressed on steel presses has oxidized and wrecks the shrooms flavour also.

  7. 16

    Tracey said,

    So glad to have tracked this blog down. I’m in Busselton and am having a very hard time finding anyone to take me foraging. Either no one knows or is too scared to show me. It’s not the kind of thing I want to do by trial and error! I couldn’t see your contact details on this site. Do you know of anyone offering foraging workshops?

    • 17

      morrie2 said,

      I have been asked many times to do foraging workshops, but somehow it never comes together or I am too busy with work. However, I might be able to oblige. I’ll send you an email.



  8. 18

    MikeyP said,

    We usually take the slimy skin off the top and then cut them up into smaller slices, then dry them out (we use the flyscreen from our window and lay it horizontally with newspaper underneath to catch the staining moisture as they dry out) Then when fully dry into a jar and then into soups sauces and hunters stew throughout the year! yum!

  9. 19

    Jeremy Johnson said,

    Does anybody sell slippery jacks mushrooms pls


    • 20

      morrie2 said,

      I could sell you a truckload Jeremy, at the right time of year. Restaurants in Perth usually source them from the east coast and I have been told that they pay $75 per kilo. How many do you want?

      • 21

        Jeremy Johnson said,

        Thanks for the info, thats awesome.
        how much would you sell for per kg please?

        Please let me know

        Thanks very much

      • 22

        Jeremy Johnson said,

        Hey Morrie,
        Do you have any other varieties as well with pricing as well.



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