One very useful atlas of the European boletes

One very useful atlas of the European boletes

I have been using for years now Roberto Galli’s atlas “I Boleti” and I definitely consider it a must have for a mycological library, no matter if you are a beginner or an expert in boletes. That is why I would like to present here its last edition to the people that still do not have it.

Galli front cover

As the two previous editions this one is also an atlas-sized book, printed on glossy paper and finished with an excellent hardback. Comparing the size to the huge amount of information included, it is probably one of the best companions, especially if you are planning to take the book with you in the field.

As expected for this kind of book, it has several well written introductory chapters. The extent of the book and the systematics of the boletes is defined as mostly following Singer’s “The Agaricales in modern taxonomy” (1975), a system although not most up to date, but nonetheless very useful for practical purposes. It will be great if in future editions, the author may consider adding chapter with explanation of the recent changes in bolete taxonomy, invoked by molecular studies; this will certainly help the better understanding.

Further on, on more than 25 pages the authors introduces the reader with all the important macromorphological, micromorphological, chemical and ecological features that are used in bolete taxonomy. The detailed explanations are amply illustrated with suitable photos and drawings. Especially valuable is the original chart of the spore colours of the boletes, the only one that I am aware of. At the end of this part, the author provides explanations how the study of boletes is done.

Galli I Boleti introThe keys in the book are both in Italian and English, which is especially handy for persons not much skilled in Italian. Being most used of dichotomous keys, it takes me awhile to get used with the keys in this book, which generally follow the dichotomous scheme, but in many places the strict rule “one thesis/one antithesis” gives way to few parallel entries. In most places the keys work well, but in few the reader may have problems understanding them, for example, in the key of genera, the length of the tubes is used as important separating character, but definitions as “very short” or “very long” leave a place for too much guessing.

The species in the atlas are well presented with description and illustrations. Very few synonyms are used, mostly such that are widely known. I find this more useful than a long list of names that were for a long time not heard of. Each description contains separate entries for cap, stipe, hymenophore, flesh, spore print and chemical reactions. The micromorphological features are described in explanations to figures.

Galli I Boleti inside pages

The book is amply illustrated. Each species is normally presented with two to five photographs and a line drawing, the latter also sometimes including sketch of a particular host tree, when this is useful for the determination. For many species there are additional photographs to be found on separating pages, the covers or in the introductory chapters. In very few cases of extremely rare species colour drawings are used instead of photographs. Colour photographs of spores are also included in some cases. I find all the illustrations rather satisfying. In addition to the description in many places there are additional notes that might give explanations for the distinction from similar species, may explain some peculiar things related to the naming of the boletes, or may present intraspecific variability or some less known or ill-defined entities.

Finally, I shall add that I will very much appreciate if the next editions feature full-text English translation. This will certainly make this otherwise valuable book even more useful for people not familiar with Italian. Nevertheless if you still do not have this worthy book, consider buying it.

Genera and species considered

(* marks species present in notes only)

Aureoboletus: A. gentilis

Boletinus: B. asiaticus*, B. cavipes, B. lakei, B. spectabilis*

Boletus: B. aereus, B. aestivalis, B. appendiculatus, B. calopus, B. comptus, B. depilatus, B. dupainii, B. edulis, B. erythropus, B. fechtneri, B. flavosanguineus, B. fragrans, B. fuscoruber*, B. gabretae*, B. impolitus, B. kluzakii*, B. legaliae, B. lupinus, B. luridus, B. luteocupreus, B. mamorensis*, B. permagnificus, B. persoonii, B. pinophilus, B. poikilochromus, B. pseudoregius, B. pulchrotinctus, B. pulverulentus, B. queletii, B. radicans, B. regius, B. rhodoxanthus, B. rubrosanguineus, B. satanas, B. separans*, B. spretus, B. subappendiculatus, B. torosus, B. venturii, B. xanthocyaneus*,

Buchwaldoboletus: B. hemichrysus, B. lignicola

Chalciporus: C. amarellus, C. hypochryseus, C. piperatus, C. rubinus

Gyrodon: G. lividus

Gyroporus: G. ammophilus*, G. castaneus, G. cyanescens

Leccinum: L. carpini, L. corsicum, L. lepidum, L. crocipodium, L. vulpinus, L. quercinum, L. versipelle, L. aurantiacum, L. duriusculum, L. holopus, L. variicolor, L. scabrum, L. molle, L. melaneum, L. brunneobadium*, L. salicola*, L. decipiens*, L. populinum*, L. salicola*, L. piceinum*, L. cerinum, L. callitrichum, L. atrostipitatum, L. fuscoalbum*, L. roseofractum*, L. nucatum*, L. pulchrum*, L. olivaceosum*, L. brunneogriseolum*. Care should be taken by the reader to adjust the taxonomy to the current concept in this genus.

Phylloporus: P. rhodoxanthus (P. pelletieri is listed as a synonym, but this is the proper name of our European bolete)

Porphyrellus: P. porphyrosporus

Strobilomyces: S. strobilaceus

Suillus: S. alboflocculosus*, S. bellinii, S. bovinus, S. bresadolae, S. clintonianus*, S. collinitus, S. flavidus, S. granulatus, S. hololeucus*, S. lapponicus*, S. luteus, S. mediterraneensis, S. placidus, S. plorans, S. roseoporus*, S. sibiricus, S. tridentinus, S. variegatus, S. viscidus

Tylopilus: T. felleus

Xerocomus: X. armeniacus, X. badius, X. bubalinus*, X. chrysenteron, X. cisalpinus, X. dryophilus, X. ichnusanus, X. moravicus, X. parasiticus, X. persicolor, X. porosporus, X. pruinatus, X. ripariellus, X. roseoalbidus, X. rubellus, X. subtomentosus. The information provided about X. bubalinus is in my opinion not enough to allow the recognition of this uneasy species. Combined with the slightly misleading information about X. communis and X. quercinus by which it seems that these are different species, it leads to inability to separate X. bubalinus from X. rubellus, X. engelii (= X. communis, = X. quercinus) and X. erubescens (not present). Xerocomus lanatus is retained as a separate entity, but recent research by molecular techniques has shown that it is hardly distinct. I am missing Xerocomus fennicus, which is close to X. ripariellus. Quite understandably we do not see X. chrysonemus, X. marekii and X. silwoodensis, described shortly before or after the atlas was printed.


Further information might be obtain from the publisher Dalla Natura (Mrs Franca Marmonti)

Galli, R. 2007. I Boleti. Atlante pratico-monographico per la determinazione dei boleti. Ed. 3. Dalla Natura, Milano.