Let’s be entirely clear about this: your author is an amateur. 99% of the information on this site comes from what I’ve read and/or been told by my betters. Those are the places to go if you really want to learn about boletes. The Bolete Filter really is nothing more than a new way of presenting the data compiled over several lifetimes by true professionals. That’s why we’re so insistent that it needs to be used as identification triage rather than an identification tool. I’m (usually) good enough to help you aim in the right direction for an actual I.D., but only a fool would rely on my personal opinions as the end of that road.
By the books, and use the books. My Filter should be treated with about the same level of respect you’d give to a really good comic book version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It has its place, and I’m proud of it, but make no mistakes about its limits!
So with that said, here is a list of my most-used resources:
North American Boletes: A Color Guide To the Fleshy Pored Mushrooms, by Alan E. Bessette, William C. Roody, and Arleen R. Bessette. This is the bible, folks! It’s nothing short of majesterial and forms the ground floor on which all the data in this site is built. I cannot say enough good things about either the book or its authors.
Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians, by William C. Roody. This is the same William Roody who collaborated on North American Boletes. The bolete section in this book is obviously a bit more limited, but with all due respect it’s an even better resource for the ones it covers. The photographs are on the same page as the text, and the text could not be any clearer or easier to read.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (National Audubon Society Field Guides), by the Audobon Society…. A/K/A The Lincoff Guide, after it’s primary author Gary Lincoff. Any American mushroomer who fails to list this book as a formative resource is either a liar or deluding himself. It’s that ubiquitous, that useful, and that essential as a general base. Besides, I live in Pittsburgh where we are pleased to host the ever-entertaining Mr. Lincoff at our annual foray and I’d be remiss if I failed to acknowledge that ongoing inspiration.
MushroomExpert.com, run by the estimable Michael Kuo, is my go-to spot when I’m looking for additional information. Mr. Kuo has a knack for saying the same old things in a new way that often helps us amateurs to see what everyone was talking about. If you find yourself confused by mushroom techno-speak, this is the #1 place to go.
MushroomObserver.org. I don’t know exactly who’s behind Mushroom Observer, but whoever you are I want to shake your had. This is a community project where members can post a photo of whatever mushroom they found, and have interested people contribute by voting on what they think it is… and by discussing the reasons for those tentative ID’s. It’s a fantastic place to pick up general lore and to see great photos.
This part is going to get me into soooo much trouble! The fact is, there are way too many people to list and omitting any of their names would be an unconscionable sin. On the other hand, how can I fail to even try? Here’s my best effort, organized as randomly as I possibly can to avoid any hint that I’m giving one person more credit than any of the others.
Kate Pavelle. The one exception to that “priorities” thing. My beloved wife comes first and foremost every time. And every single time she deserves it.
Dick and Mary Ellen Dougall. For being the people who made the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club so much fun to begin with, and by sharing my endless frustration with the bolete identification process. How many people do you know who simply open up their house to novice mushroomers, and then spend endless hours working with them on attempts to identify obscure new finds? I know at least two.
Richard Jacob. The current President of the WPMC and the man who did the actual work on structuring this into a functional website. Many, many thanks.
John Plischke III. Most of you out there know “JP3” even if you’ve never met him. When you got into foraging your local experts would patiently explain how difficult it is for anyone to identify particular mushrooms down to species. Then they’d pause, and say something like this:
Well, there are some people who just get to know their mushrooms so well that it’s like they’re talking about old friends. That guy … errr, I mean ‘the people like that … it’s like the teacher who never forgets a face and simply knows every kid they’ve ever taught. If only the S.O.B. could explain the way he does it without me needing to read those same, thousands of different books he consumed like bedtime stories as a kid!
Well, now you know who “that guy” really is. He also happens to be a superb photographer that opened his vaults for public consumption, simply to see the photos put to use. Please Note: Mr. Plischke is entirely innocent when it comes to my luddite insistence on using “established” scientific names instead of more current ones. Every single photo he submitted contained the newest possible genus name in an ongoing effort to bring me ’round to the One True Way. Maybe some day…
Fluff Berger. A kind lady and excellent mushroomer who was the first in line to share her resources.
Jim Tunney. For being “that guy” who we all go to when the books stop making sense.
La Monte Yaroll. La Monte, if your last name started with a better letter you might have jumped Jim on this line. Again, you guys are a tremendous resource for us all.
Bolete Bill Yule. Who came to the 2014 Lincoff Foray, let me monopolize him for hours on end, and clarified what I was trying to do with my original book of transparencies. If you like the idea that every mushroom has a “tell” in the same way as poker players, look no further than Mr. Yule.
Roger Pavelle. My little brother who, with absolutely zero interest in foraging, nevertheless spent gobs of time working with me to turn the online Bolete Filter into an app that won’t require Internet access. It’s much appreciated Rog.
Igor Safonov. You amateur boletologist par excellence. Igor is the one who did the lion’s share of the work that allowed the site to move on from the names set forth in North American Boletes.
Robert Gergulics of The 3 Foragers. Bolete Bill’s unofficial protege, a top-notch field identifier, a tremendous photographer, and the one who finally convinced me that this system not only should work, but really does.
Many, many thanks to you all. And to everyone else I missed.
Very truly yours,
Scott Pavelle, Pittsburgh PA.
August 13, 2015 (in the midst of getting this thing ready for Beta testing)