Pine trees and their fallen needles create an acidic soil environment hostile to many plants and fungi. There are, however, several types of mushrooms that not only tolerate the soil beneath pine trees but thrive in such a location. Mushrooms associated with pine trees include edibles, such as the prized king bolete and matsutake mushrooms, as well as poisonous mushrooms, like the death cap.
The king bolete, or Boletus edulis, is a European bolete mushroom associated with spruce and pine trees. This very large mushroom has a swollen, meaty stem and a smooth, brown cap with a tacky surface. According to Michael Kuo, author of "Morels" and "100 Edible Mushrooms," scientists debate whether North American examples of the king bolete are actually the same as the species found in Europe. However, regardless of classification, this pine-loving mushroom is prized for its nutty, slightly bitter flavour and works well in soups.
A relative of the prized Japanese matsutake mushroom, American matsutake, or Tricholoma magnivelare, is a white to brownish mushroom with a partial veil on the stem. It has a distinctive spicy odour and a complex flavour. This mushroom is often found under jack pine trees in the American northeast.
Also called by its scientific name, Hydnum repandum, the hedgehog mushroom is an orange to tan fungus that grows near conifers. Its name comes from the distinctive spines on the underside of its cap. Except for these spines, it closely resembles the also-edible chanterelle mushroom. Hedgehog mushrooms taste similar to chantarelles, but are usually milder. Old specimens may have a bitter flavour.
This large, white toadstool is one of the most dangerous mushrooms in North America, not only for its poisonous nature but for its resemblance to edible field mushrooms. This fungus is mostly associated with European species of oak, but does grow under several types of pine tree, as well. Death cap mushrooms have a distinctive sack-like volva around their bases and a white ring under the cap.
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