Boletus satanas, commonly known as the Devil's bolete or Satan's mushroom, is a basidiomycete fungus of the bolete family. Found on chalky soil in mixed woodlands in the southern, warmer regions of Europe and North America, it is generally regarded as a poisonous mushroom, with predominantly gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea and vomiting occurring if eaten raw. However, reports of poisoning are rare due to its odd appearance and at times putrid smell minimising casual experimentation. There are reports of its traditional consumption in the former Czechoslovakia, Italy and San Francisco Bay Area after thorough cooking.
The squat, brightly coloured fruiting bodies are large and imposing, with a pale dull-coloured velvety cap up to wide, blood red pores and bulbous red-patterned stalk. The flesh turns blue when cut or bruised. There is a smell of carrion, more noticeable with age. It is the largest bolete growing in Europe.
Boletus satanas was described by German mycologist Harald Othmar Lenz in 1831, who gave it its sinister name, satanas 'of Satan', derived from Hebrew via Ancient Greek, American mycologist Harry D. Thiers concluded that material from North America matches the species description, although some authorities have questioned this.
The compact cap can be up to in diameter. At first it is hemispheric with an inrolled margin, later flattening in the shape of a pad, and in older specimens it is bent irregularly. When young, the pileus is greyish white, when older it tends more to a greenish ochre or leather colour.
The surface of the cap is finely tomentose, becomes smooth later and often slightly sticky in wet weather. It does not peel. The free to slightly adnate tubes are up to 3 mm (? in) long. At first they are pale yellow or greenish yellow before soon reddening and are already entirely purplish red or carmine before full maturity. The spore print is olive green and spores are spindle-shaped and 10-16 ?m long when viewed under a microscope.
The Devil's bolete can be confused with other boletes such as:
- B. erythropus
- B. calopus
- B. luridus
- B. rhodoxanthus
- B. legaliae (= B. splendidus)
- B. torosus
Distribution and habitat
The Devil's bolete is found in the entire temperate zone, but in Europe it definitely occurs more in southern regions. It is only found in the south of England. Also, it has been recorded from Iran. It grows in hardwood forests, mainly under beech (Fagus) in Europe, and oak (Quercus) in North America. It appears in summer and the beginning of the autumn in the southernmost areas. It is rather rare in the north, as it grows only in hot and sunny periods. It fruits in autumn.
Muscarine has been isolated from fruiting bodies, but the quantities are believed to be far too small to account for its toxic effects. Bolesatine is a protein synthesis inhibitor, and, when given to mice, causes hepatic blood stasis and thrombosis.