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The bolete is a popular edible mushroom and widespread in local regions. Find out here what special features distinguish the sand mushroom and how it differs from other mushrooms.

In a nutshell

  • Synonyms: sand mushroom, millet mushroom, lemon mushroom
  • natural occurrence in forests of northern and central Europe
  • grows singly or in groups
  • edible, ideal for mixed dishes
  • best dried as a mixed mushroom powder

General information about the sand fungus

The bolete (Suillus variegatus) is an edible mushroom that belongs to the bolete family. Unlike most members of this family, however, it is not particularly greasy, because the epidermis only becomes slimy when it is very humid. Its odor is pungent and almost radish-like.


The natural range of the borage is in the forests of central and northern Europe, where it forms a regular community with conifers. It is particularly common under pine trees. The sand fungus prefers to grow on acidic or sandy soils, but rarely on calcareous soils. It grows mainly from June to November, although it is most commonly found in autumn.

  • grows singly or in groups (en masse!)
  • also possible in large witch rings


Confusion with other mushrooms is quite possible, because visually it resembles, among other things, the softwood boletus, the goat's lip and the cow boletus. On closer inspection, however, the sand boletus can be recognized by certain characteristics:

Source: Strobilomyces, Suillus variegatus 111113w, edited from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0


The hat is usually between 7 and 12 centimeters wide, but can sometimes even reach a width of 15 centimeters. Its shape changes over time: while the hat is initially hemispherical, it can later become cushiony, flat, scalloped, or cracked. Typical of the millet mushroom are also dark scales and tufts of hair on the cap as well as the following features:

  • Colour: golden yellow, brown yellow, yellow, reddish or olive
  • Size: 7 - 12 cm wide, sometimes up to 15 cm wide
  • leathery and fine-grained like sand


The flesh of the sand mushroom is quite thick and usually white-yellow or pale orange. When cut, the meat often takes on a blue color. A brownish boot is also typical of the fungus.


The tubes are brown-yellow, green-yellow or brown-green in color and between 0.5 and 1.0 centimeters long. They have pinholes and are difficult to separate from the meat.


The smooth and firm stalk is colored similar to the cap, but a little lighter. It has a cylindrical shape and is sometimes slightly thickened at the bottom. his text

risk of confusion

The sand boletus is often confused with the cow boletus (Suillus bovinus), although its hat is not bald and does not have sand-like scales. It is also often confused with the stone pine boletus (Suillus plorans). However, this differs in a pink-colored stem base and a greasy cap in damp weather.

Cow boletus (Suillus bovinus) (l.), stone pine boletus (Suillus plorans) (r.) & sand boletus (Suillus variegatus)

food value

The bolete is an edible and popular type of mushroom in Germany. Its fairly thick flesh smells pleasant to sour and convinces with a mild taste. It is particularly good dried as a mixed mushroom powder, as its quality increases significantly through the drying process. When fresh, however, its aroma is not the most intense, which is why it is used less as a main ingredient in dishes. Nonetheless, it complements numerous dishes and can be used to:

  • mixed dishes
  • Supplement to other mushrooms in mushroom dishes
  • very good as a morel substitute

Tip: Sand mushrooms should be processed quickly, as their flesh quickly becomes spongy.

frequently asked Questions

How are sand boletes dried?

The mushrooms can be air dried or dried in the oven. For air-drying, place the mushrooms on a grid with sufficient distance from each other and place it in a sunny and warm place. The mushrooms dry in a convection oven at around 50 degrees Celsius in a few hours.

For which dishes are sand boletes suitable?

While many mushrooms are suitable as the main ingredient in dishes, sand mushrooms are more recommended as a supplementary ingredient. In particular, they round off mixed dishes such as mushroom goulash, soups or sauces.

Is collecting sand mushrooms allowed?

Collecting sand boletes is generally allowed, but with some restrictions. You are only allowed to collect the mushrooms in small quantities for your own use. Selling the mushrooms is forbidden and can even result in heavy penalties. In addition, mushroom picking is only permitted where there is no ban on entry. In nature reserves, however, collecting is prohibited.

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