Trees and their fungal partners

Have you ever wondered why some mushroom species show up in the same place on a regular and predictable basis, while you have to search much longer for others? The answer is to be found in the lifestyle of each and every mushroom species.

If we are talking about fungi, we should be familiar with three different kinds of lifestyles:

The decomposers (saprotrophic species) have really important role in our world, they are the rubbish cleaners who clean up all the mess we leave behind (the litter, the corpses of dead animals including ourselves, and plants, etc.). Whether they are growing on the ground e.g. Parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) or Giant Puffball (Langermannia gigantea), on leaf litter e.g., Trooping Funnel (Infundibulicybe geotropa) or Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda), on decaying herbaceous plants e.g., Shaggy Inkcap (Coprinus comatus) or Meadow Waxcap (Cuphophyllus pratensis), on wood e.g. Glistening Inkcap (Coprinellus micaceus) or Deer Shield (Pluteus cervinus), or on other substrates like on grazing animals’ manure e.g. Petticoat Mottlegill (Panaeolus papilionaceus) or Snowy Inkcap (Coprinopsis nivea), their way of life is fundamentally similar. As long as there are enough nutrients and all the environmental factors, humidity and temperature, etc. are right, they reproduce, form new fruit bodies, release their spores and so on.

The opportunists take advantage of other life forms (parasitic species). It is really hard to see it as something positive despite how miraculous some of their strategies are. Some of them want to keep their host (plants, animals, or other fungal species) alive as long as possible, but some kill their hosts as fast as possible, then consume the dead organic material as a saprotrophic species (we call these as necrotrophic parasites). We have a few amazing parasites in the UK, e.g., Scarlet Caterpillarclub (Cordyceps militaris) which lives on different kind of larvae, or the protected Bearded Tooth (Hericium erinaceus), which is better known as Lion’s Mane.

But life isn’t that simple, so of course there are species which are generally saprotrophic, with some weak parasitic characteristics, e.g., Splitgill (Schizophyllum commune), Porcelain fungus (Mucidula mucida), Jelly Ear (Auricularia auricula-judae) or even Fairy Ring Champignon (Marasmius oreades).

The mutualists or symbionts (mycorrhizal species) co-operate with their partner as long as possible. They mutually support each other. In mycological literature this relationship is mostly described from the perspective of fungi (just read the mycological description of a mycorrhizal species and you easily can find out what kind of trees you need to find if you are looking for that particular species). 

The following tables are a quick reference guide to what mushrooms grow with what trees. The reason we have put this together for you is because most of the main, choice edible mushrooms (e.g., Chanterelles, Boletes, Brittlegills etc.) and some of the most toxic species (Amanitas and Fibrecaps etc.) are all mycorrhizal. We hope you find them useful. 

Mycorrhiza [Greek] is a mutual symbiotic association between a fungus and a plant.

Coniferous trees and Mushrooms

On smaller screens you can scroll this table horizontally at the bottom or download the excel document

Common Name   Cedar Cypress Douglas-fir Fir Hemlock Juniper Larch Pine Spruce Thuja Yew
Scientific Name   Cedrus Cupressus Pseudotsuga Abies Tsuga Juniperus Larix Pinus Picea Thuja Taxus
Amanita crocea Orange Grisette               * *    
Amanita excelsa Grey Spotted Amanita       *       * *    
Amanita franchetii Gilded Amanita               *      
Amanita rubescens Blusher       *       *      
Boletus edulis Penny Bun         *     * *    
Boletus pinophilus Pine Bolete               *      
Cantharellus cibarius Chanterelle               * *    
Chroogomphus rutilus Copper Spike               *      
Cortinarius caperatus The Gypsy               *      
Craterellus tubaeformis Winter Chanterelle               *      
Gomphidius maculatus Larch Spike             *        
Hydnum repandum Wood Hedgehog               *      
Hydnum rufescens Terracotta Hedgehog               *      
Hygrophorus lucorum Larch Woodwax             *        
Imleria badia Bay Bolete                 *    
Laccaria laccata Deceiver               *      
Lactarius camphoratus Curry Milkcap               *      
Lactarius deliciosus Saffron Milkcap               *      
Lactarius deterrimus False Saffron Milkcap                 *    
Lactarius porninsis Larch Milkcap             *        
Lactarius salmonicolor         *              
Lactarius sanguifluus Bloody Milkcap               *      
Lactarius semisanguifluus                 *      
Lactarius tabidus Birch Milkcap                 *    
Rhizopogon luteolus Yellow False Truffle               *      
Rhizopogon roseolus Blushing False Truffle               *      
Russula emetica Sickener               * *    
Russula ochroleuca Ochre Brittlegill                 *    
Russula silverstris Woodland Brittlegill               *      
Suillus bovinus Bovine Bolete               *      
Suillus granulatus Weeping Bolete               *      
Suillus grevillei Larch Bolete                      
Suillus luteus Slippery Jack               *      
Suillus tridentinus Orange Larch Bolete             *        
Suillus variegatus Velvet Bolete               *      
Tricholoma fulvum Birch Knight                 *    
Tricholoma psammopus Larch Knight             *        
Tricholoma saponaceum Soapy Knight               * *    
Tricholoma terreum Grey Knight               *      
Tricholoma virgatum Ashen Knight                 *    
Xerocomus subtomentosus Suede Bolete               *      

Deciduous trees and Mushrooms

On smaller screens you can scroll this table horizontally at the bottom or download the excel document

Common Name   Alder Ash Beech Birch Chestnut Elm Hazel Holly Hornbeam Lime Maple Oak Poplar Willow
Scientific Name   Alnus Fraxinus Fagus Betula Castanea Ulmus Corylus Ilex Carpinus Tilia Acer Quercus Populus Salix
Amanita betulae Birch Grisette       *                    
Amanita citrina False Deathcap     *                 *    
Amanita corylii Hazel Grisette             *              
Amanita crocea Orange Grisette     * *                    
Amanita excelsa Grey Spotted Amanita     *                 *    
Amanita franchetii Gilded Amanita         *             *    
Amanita fulva Tawny Grisette     * *               *    
Amanita gemmata Jewelled Amanita                            
Amanita lividopallescens                         *    
Amanita muscaria Fly Agaric       *                    
Amanita pantherina Panthercap     *   *             *    
Amanita phalloides Deathcap     *           *     *    
Amanita rubescens Blusher     *   *     *       *    
Amanita vaginata Grisette                            
Amanita virosa Destroying Angel     *                      
Boletus aereus Bronze Bolete                       *    
Boletus edulis Penny Bun     * *               *    
Boletus pinophilus Pine Bolete     *                      
Boletus reticulatus Summer Bolete                       *    
Butyriboletus appendiculatus Oak Bolete                       *    
Caloboletus calopus Bitter Beech Bolete     *                      
Caloboletus radicans Rooting Bolete                       *    
Cantharellus cibarius Chanterelle     * *               *    
Cantharellus pallens Pale Chanterelle     *                      
Cortinarius caperatus The Gypsy     * *                    
Cortinarius (Phlegmacium) triumphans Birch Webcap       *                    
Craterellus cornicupioides Horn of Plenty     *                 *    
Craterellus tubaeformis Winter Chanterelle     *                      
Cyanoboletus pulverulentus Inkstain Bolete                       *    
Gyrodon lividus Alder Bolete *                          
Gyroporus castaneus Chestnut Bolete                       *    
Hebeloma vaccinum Willow Poisonpie                           *
Hemileccinum impolitum Iodine Bolete                       *    
Hortiboletus bubalinus Ascot Hat                   *        
Hortiboletus engelii                   * *   * *  
Hortiboletus rubellus Ruby Bolete                 * *   *    
Hydnum repandum Wood Hedgehog     *                      
Hydnum rufescens Terracotta Hedgehog     *                      
Hygrophorus nemoreus Oak Woodwax                       *    
Imleria badia Bay Bolete       *                    
Imperator rhodopurpureus Oldrose Bolete                       *    
Inosperma erubescens Deadly Fibrecap     *                      
Laccaria amethystina Amethyst Deceiver     *                 *    
Laccaria laccata Deceiver     * *                    
Laccaria pumila Willow Deceiver       *                   *
Lactarius aspideus Willow Milkcap                           *
Lactarius blennius Beech Milkcap     *                      
Lactarius camphoratus Curry Milkcap       *                    
Lactarius chrysorrheus Yellowdrop Milkcap                       *    
Lactarius circellatus Ringed Milkcap                 *          
Lactarius controversus Blushing Milkcap                         * *
Lactarius fulvissimus Tawny Milkcap     *       *   * *        
Lactarius obscuratus Alder Milkcap *                          
Lactarius pubescens Bearded Milkcap       *                    
Lactarius quietus Oakbug Milkcap                       *    
Lactarius tabidus Birch Milkcap       *               *    
Lactarius torminosus Woolly Milkcap       *                    
Lactifluus vellereus Fleecy Milkcap     *                 *    
Leccinellum crocipodium Saffron Bolete     *           *     *    
Leccinellum pseudoscabrum Hazel Bolete             *   *          
Leccinum albostipitatum                           *  
Leccinum aurantiacum                         *    
Leccinum cyanobasileucum Greyshank Bolete       *                    
Leccinum duriusculum                           *  
Leccinum holopus Ghost Bolete       *                    
Leccinum scabrum Brown Birch Bolete       *                    
Leccinum variicolor Mottled Bolete       *                    
Leccinum versipelle Orange Birch Bolete       *                    
Neoboletus praestigiator Scarletina Bolete                       *    
Paxillus cuprinus         *     *              
Paxillus involutus Brown Rollrim       *                    
Paxillus obscurisporus                             *
Paxillus olivellus   *                          
Paxillus rubicundulus Alder Rollrim *                          
Rubroboletus legaliae Bilious Bolete                       *    
Russula betularum Birch Brittlegill       *                    
Russula claroflava Yellow Swamp Brittlegill       *                    
Russula cyanoxantha Charcoal Burner     *                      
Russula fellea Geranium Brittlegill     *                      
Russula laccata Willow Brittlegill                           *
Russula nitida Purple Swamp Brittlegill       *                    
Russula nobilis Beechwood Sickener     *                      
Russula ochroleuca Ochre Brittlegill                       *    
Russula parazurea Powdery Brittlegill                       *    
Russula risigallina Golden Brittlegill     *                 *    
Russula silverstris Woodland Brittlegill         *             *    
Russula undulata Purple Brittlegill                       *    
Russula versicolor Variable Brittlegill       *                    
Russula virsecens Greencracked Brittlegill     *                      
Suillellus luridus Lurid Bolete                       *    
Suillellus queletii Deceiving Bolete                   *   *    
Tricholoma argyraceum                           *  
Tricholoma cingulatum Girdled Knight                           *
Tricholoma fulvum Birch Knight       *                    
Tricholoma populinum Poplar Knight                         *  
Tricholoma saponaceum Soapy Knight     *                 *    
Tricholoma scalpturatum Yellowing Knight                 *     *    
Tricholoma sciodes Beech Knight     *                      
Tricholoma sejunctum Deceiving Knight                       *    
Tricholoma sulphureum Sulphur Knight     *                 *    
Tricholoma ustale Burnt Knight     *                      
Tricholoma virgatum Ashen Knight     *                      
Tuber aestivum Summer Truffle     *       *         *    
Tylopilus felleus Bitter Bolete     *                 *    
Xerocomellus chrysenteron Red Cracking Bolete     *                      
Xerocomellus cisalpinus Bluefoot Bolete     *                 *    
Xerocomellus porosporus Sepia Bolete                   *   *    
Xerocomellus pruinatus Matt Bolete     *                      
Xerocomellus ripariellus Riverine Bolete *                       * *
Xerocomus silwoodensis Poplar Bolete                         *  
Xerocomus subtomentosus Suede Bolete                 * *   *    


17 comments for Trees and their fungal partners

  1. Gav Forager says:

    This is fascinating and very useful, thanks Attila.

    One question, in the spreadsheet do the colours have any particular meaning?

    1. Attila Fodi says:

      Hi, Gav,
      Thank you for your feedback and your question.
      All the species in green have descriptions on the webpage. You can click on either their common English name or their scientific name and it will take you to their page. If you see a species in black, it means that we do not have their description on our webpage yet. Hence we continuously add new descriptions to our webpage, a today’s “black species” might be green with some time.

    2. Ranjan Morarji says:

      Thank you for this very useful information. Now all I’ve got to do is learn my trees!!

  2. dave lee says:


    nice work !!

    Can’t d/l the conifer table tho’ – both links get me the deciduous ?

    Also the only time I’ve EVER gone to find a particular ‘shroom & succeeded*
    was Daldinia Concentrica under a downed Ash tree

    *It’s my bad, I know….

    1. Attila Fodi says:

      Hi, Dave!
      Thank you for your feedback. The downloaded Excel sheet should contains 2 folders (in the same file), where the first is about Conifers and their mushroom partners, the second one is about Deciduous trees and their mushroom partners.

      1. dlee says:

        tried firefox, opera, chrome all with the same result ??
        what am I missing
        thanks again

        1. Attila Fodi says:

          Hi, Dave,
          The only thing you seems to miss is the fact: there are NO two files, only one Excel sheet (an xlsx file) with two separate folders. These folders shown separate on the website, but they belong to the same xlsx file.
          So, open the downloaded file, please, and check the bottom of it. You might see something similar than me, I assume (2 folders, with 2 separate list of mushroom and tree species).

  3. Paul says:

    Hey Attila!

    These spreadsheets are great! Thank You!

    One question – i have found the majority of my Boletus Edulis growing near pine trees on golf courses or pine woods etc, yet you do not include it on the list of fungi found near pine trees. So this has confused me a bit! Even the forager I learned from swears by pine trees for finding ceps…

    So am I completely mistaken? I’m 100% certain they are boletus edulis – but would you not recommend pine for this particular search?

    1. Attila Fodi says:

      Hi, Paul,
      Thank you for your feedback and your question.
      Boletus edulis does form mycorrhizal connection with several different conifers, incl. pines (Pinus), spruce (Picea) and/or hemlock (Tsuga), however back home, I mostly found them under hardwood, like beech (Fagus), birch (Betula) and/or oak (Quercus).
      The main reason we left the downloadable sheets editable is to give everyone a chance to adjust or change it according to his/her personal taste. We might adjust the source file too if he got enough suggestions to do that.

      1. Paul says:

        Thank you! :). Much appreciated.

  4. Alex R says:

    Thanks for this info, its great.

    I have a woods near me that is carpeted with blue bells in the spring, but pretty much devoid of mushrooms in the autumn. I have wondered for a while if there is a reason for this. I have heard, but cannot find any more info, that bluebells similarly employ a symbiotic fungal relationship. I wonder whether this pushes out or dominate over other fungi species? Is this something you have come across?

    1. Attila Fodi says:

      Dear Alex,
      Thank you for your question. No, I haven’t heard or read anything like this before.
      One thing is sure, fungi are literally everywhere and they need more than just one environmental factors to start fruiting. I am not sure if I can say anything more concrete without seeing your forest with my own eyes in several seasons.
      Best Regards,

  5. Geoff Wilkinson says:

    Hi Attila,
    Thanks for a very useful guide which as a novice will save me a lot of time looking for particular species in unlikely habitat.

    This may be something which has already been covered but many plant species only thrive on particular soil types ie. acid or alkali. I wonder if the same is true for fungi?

    Regards Geoff

    1. Attila Fodi says:

      Hi Geoff,
      Thank you for your feedback. Yes, there are fungal species which has narrower ecological needs (e.g., they preferably or only grow on acidic or alkaline soil), while some of them aren’t this sensitive. I haven’t seen any list which listing fungal species according to their soil preferences, and I am not sure if I will have enough time this year to make such a list.

  6. Andrew says:

    I find it strange that you have stated death caps only grow with oak, simply not true I recently found it growing prolifically with very young Hornbeam trees and it also grows with Beech

    1. Attila Fodi says:

      Hi Andrew,
      This is only a draft (a quick, hence incomplete guide to foragers), doesn’t include every possible tree partners. Back home deathcap mostly (but not exclusively) growing under oaks. But you are right, it can form mycorrhizal relationship with beech, hornbeam, and even with some conifers. Feel free to adjust your copy (once we are over the main mushroom season, probably I will adjust the source too).

      1. Andrew says:

        Thanks for the reply Attila, I’ve just found my first death caps after years of searching they were loads growing underneath some very young hornbeam trees at the edge of a woods which was full of large oak and beech and they’re weren’t any where the ancient trees were, so unpredictable I guess that’s nature for you I suppose

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