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Penny Bun

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

One of the stars of the mushroom world. Easily recognisable among the edible species. Generally seen eight days after rain around late summer to the start of autumn.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Penny Bun (EN), Cep (FR), Porcini (IT), King Bolete (US), Wicsen Gron (CY), Borowik Szlachetny (PL), Ízletes Vargánya (HU)
Scientific Name Boletus edulis
Season Start Aug
Season End Oct
Average Mushroom height (CM) 10-14
Average Cap width (CM) 7-12
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


7-12 cm. White when very young, maturing to look like a crusty brown roll, hence the name penny bun. The edge of the cap is often white. Slug marks expose white flesh.


Has very small white pores which can yellow a bit with age.


10-14 cm long, 2-4 cm diameter. Thick, bulbous and white ageing to slightly tan yellow. The stem has a fine net like covering just under the cap and sometimes extending all the way down the stem, solid when young, fresh or free from maggots.


White slightly yellowing with age.


Mixed woodland but found more with beech, oak or pine.

Possible Confusion

No poisonous mushrooms look similar, all the poisonous Boletus such as the Satans Boletus are either very red in the flesh or sponge, or stain blue immediately on cutting.
You could potentially confuse this mushroom with the Bitter Bolete, Tylopilus felleus which although not poisonous will ruin any meal you are unfortunate enough to add this mushroom to. A little nibble of the mushroom when raw will soon identify it with the Penny Bun being delicious and the Bitter Bolete being as bitter as sin! A better way to distinguish the two is that the Penny Bun has a lighter net like mesh on a slightly darker stem, the Bitter Bolete has a darker mesh on a lighter stem, pictured.
The Summer Bolete, Boletus reticulatus, looks very similar but has a slightly darker stem, not as solid flesh, lacks the white cap edge and grows in early Summer.

Spore Print

Green/brown. Subfusiform.

Taste / Smell

Excellent raw or fried in butter when fresh. Very mushroomy, one of the best species to dry where the mushroom flavour is enhanced.


Fairly common if you know where to look.

Other Facts

Penny buns produce more glutamates when dried so enhancing the flavour.
Tests on dried Penny Buns found that there were many different Boletes in a packet as they are hard to visually identify when dried.
Please note that there are several closely related species in the US, including the White King Bolete (Boletus barrowsii), Spring King Bolete (Boletus rex-veris), and a local variety of our Boletus edulis in Western North America, called Boletus edulis var. grandedulis.


33 comments for Penny Bun

  1. Peter says:

    Penny Bun: Can the stalk/stem be eaten too?

    1. Jon says:

      Definitely. It’s the best bit

  2. Debbie Gregory. says:

    Any chances of doing some courses further east, nearer Lincolnshire. Im sure there would be lots of interest if you did. Went on a Lincolnshire Wildlife forege today. Over 20 people attended, young and old. We have attended one of your courses at Bubenhall Wood. It was great and very informative. Some courses a bit closer to us would be very nice.

    1. Phil Leng says:

      Hi Debbie, glad you enjoyed your course with us in Bubbenhall Wood. We would like to run courses in the Nottingham area or east of Nottingham area which would be closer to you, however we are yet to find a suitable venue (good foraging, car parking, able to get permission). If you have any suggestions that would be great.

      1. Sarah Webster says:

        Sherwood forest, Sherwood Pines and Bestwood Country park (Lodge)

  3. Sonny Khan says:

    Can you still eat them when the pores yellow?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Up to a point, I hate to miss out on Penny Buns and will scrape off any yellow pores and check if the rest of the mushroom has a bad smell or it is full of maggots, if not it’s going in the pot.

  4. Janette Anderson says:

    I found one today and sliced it ready for drying, the stem however had a bit of brown that looked like it was rotting from the inside (nothing on the outside at all, I just cut it away. Is there anything to be concerned about?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      No, just cut away any suspect looking bits as you did.

  5. Divesh says:


    I’d like to ask you about how the cep season works. Last weekend I found a large amount of ceps, and the one before I found a similar amount of summer ceps (boletus reticulatus). However, this weekend, although I have visited about 5 forests in SW England and Wales, I have only found old/rotting ones and the odd one or two young ones, in locations where I know that they appear. Is the season now over then? Can we expect more ceps following the next bout of rain? In the same areas? Thanks!

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      We’ll hopefully see some more with rain but that might be the season over and done with. There is no rain forcast.

      1. Divesh Kamal says:

        Even if it rains say at the beginning of october? It looks like thats gonna be the case!

        Most years I find a good amount of chants and hedgehogs but this is my first year picking some good amounts of porcini… I don’t want it to be over 🙁

        1. Eric Biggane says:

          I fear you are right, but for three weeks it was the best Penny Bun picking I’ve done.

  6. Jan says:

    My son brought 2 carrier bags of ceps back from a forest in Northumberland yesterday. Some where huge. It’s very warm out – proper mushroom weather.

  7. Gwyneth Wright says:

    Have found none in our local woodland in Kent this season after masses last year, even after the recent rain there are none to be seen
    I’m sure they came later last year .. Perhaps overly dry earlier on has stalled them ?

    1. Gordon says:

      Hi Gwyneth
      Same for me in Kent, loads this time last year up until end of October but nothing this year. Not sure if I’ve missed them or if they’re still to come.

  8. Dan says:

    Im in Surrey and Ceps are only just starting to poke their heads out, last year it was a few weeks before…fingers crossed!

  9. Tim says:

    I’ve been looking for the last three weeks in Oxfordshire and found one single Cep!

  10. Dick ,W says:

    I find them in my front garden ,under a beech regularly. I think they are bollets.

  11. Nick says:

    Hello, is there any other bolete that looks similar and grows to the same size? I found some huge boletes, stem thicker than my wrist and cap pretty much like a baseball cap, only the colour was more like tan rather than the darker colour in the pictures here. I’m in Scotland, could the lighter colour be a regional variation? Thank you!

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      The Bay Bolete can grow to a large size, so can the Summer Cep but it is the wrong time of year although I’m finding Summer mushrooms now it has finally rained.

  12. Maria says:


    Does anyone know good places for foraging near London?

  13. Attila Fodi says:

    The yellowing colour of the pores itself is not a warning sign, so IF everything else are o.k., the penny bun/cep/porcini is still edible.

  14. Dorothy says:

    I live in a village called Romiley near Stockport Cheshire ,I have a wooded area hear where I live ,this morning I’ve picked quite a few .😁 I’m very happy.

  15. Melanie D Goforth says:

    i am pretty sure tgat the large boletes in my yard are penny buns .
    does the pore surface bruise a tan brown ?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Please send photos to [email protected] for an ID

  16. Josh Jenkinson says:

    Hi, I’ve been checking in a wooded area in north west England twice a week since August and still not found a single cep. Last year I found some in late October. Could it be that they fruit later on in the season here than the generally accepted time?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      I have only found a couple of Penny Buns this year and I have some good spots, this was in August. They have been very varied around the country with some people having a great year and others like you and I not doing so well. I’m in Mid Wales so I expect to find them every year. They might re-appear later in the season but I doubt it.

      1. Mark Davies says:


        I am on Gower. I have two woods that produce Ceps around early to mid Sept…usually in great numbers. I check twice a week and this season (other than a few at the start of August after a deluge ) has not produced Cep.

        One separate Beech woodland only produces Cep perhaps once every five years after a July or Aug deluge. This was such a year and we had a large July flush at the Southern edge. Interestingly these stopped growing just at full size as the ground moisture evaporated. We don’t usually find Cep in October here so with the above July exception, I suspect the Gower Cep season is over: a near whitewash!

        Chanterelles: every year I have two/three patches that provide through June/Sept: not this year other than one gave a late flush after the early Sept rain.

        Hedgehogs: Normally, a huge flush in late October. This year two months early after the early Sept downpour. Now rotting with no signs of fresh after the recent rains.

        Winter Chanterelles: popped their heads up in early Sept during the deluge, then believe it or not vanished within days and have not reappeared despite all the rain.

        The usual suspects: Conspicuous by their absence. I expect to see Fly Agarics and Millers at the same place as autumn Cep: not this year…totally absent. I would also expect the woods to be full now with early autumn regulars such as Trooping Funnels, Slippery Jacks and Cracked Bolettes: absolute zero. Its starting to feel like the Twilight Zone.

        Hows everyone else finding this season?

  17. Steven Morris says:

    Same here. I’m in mid Wales and last year was picking porcini on the 16th. September. I did see two in August and assumed it was low season. Did find hedgehogs today and last year they only arrived when porcini had finished so maybe there won’t be any more.

  18. Mark Davies says:

    Interesting point. Yes, the Hedgehogs with us also appear after the Ceps and Chanterelles finish. So, by that theory the Gower Cep season has finished. What a strange season.

    Btw: No parasols this year, while last year I saw literally hundreds during a single half mile walk along the coastal burrows.

    Boom or bust!

  19. Mark Davies says:

    Parasols turned up on the coast this week. Western woods still barren of all fungi…

  20. Chris says:

    What a strange year for fungi, July rains were enough to bring out the usual September suspects of hedgehog, ceps, blewits, the chanterelles came out in late June with a poor crop due to dry ground conditions. I have never seen so many hedgehogs as this year, my favourite woods had hundreds of kilos growing and no one else picking them. I am hoping for a flush of ceps following the heavy rains and change in temperature over the past days. I found some salmon salad fungi for the first time, I left it alone as it is on the red data list. I love looking through woods to see what I can find.

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