How to use The Boletes of California
This is an online reprint of California Mushrooms: A Field Guide to the Boletes by Dr. Harry D. Thiers. This version (The Boletes of California)
adds some online features not available on the printed page.
This page explains how to use those features and gives you a tour of
this site's organization.
Navigating the Pages
Several navigational aids help you move through the pages.
The Navigation Frame
If your browser supports frames (as all recent browsers do), you should see
a frame at the bottom of the page. The frame contains navigation controls
to help you move through the site's pages:
- Main Page takes you to the site's top page.
- Help brings you to this page.
- Species Index takes you to a list of boletes arranged in
alphabetical order by scientific name. You can use the links here to jump
to any genus or species description in the site.
- Key takes you to the technical key where you can
identify a specimen and jump to the species description for your
- Field Key takes you to the field key where you can
identify a specimen without using special equipment and then jump to the
species description for your identification.
If your browser doesn't support frames, use the browser's Back and Forward
buttons to get back to the main page and find other pages as necessary.
Finding the Content You Want
We've segmented the contents of The Boletes of California into separate web pages for this site and we've added a few new pages such as
this one to support the book in its online form. These are the main
New Online Content
This material is new content written for the online version of The
Boletes of California.
- How to Use The Boletes of California is the page you're
- Foreward to the Online Edition tells how this site came
about and how it got its structure.
These pages from the original book introduce you to the book and to boletes
- Preface introduces you to the book, describes its
contents and use, and gives acknowledgments.
- About Boletes introduces you to boletes and their
characteristics. Reading this page teaches you the concepts and terminology
you need to use the keys and read the species descriptions elsewhere in
this site. You'll find two additional pages here. Mycorrhizal Hosts
tells what different species of boletes are typically associated with what
trees. And Synopsis of California Boletaceae shows the taxonomic
relations of California boletes in outline form.
These pages are the heart of the original book, and describe boletes at
different levels of classification.
- Family and Generic Descriptions is a short page
describing the family Boletaceae and each genus within that family.
You can read it by jumping directly to the page from the main page, or by
clicking links included in the species index and in the Synopsis of
- Species descriptions is a set of pages that each fully
describe a species of California bolete. You can get to a species
description page in any one of three ways:
- Use the Species List, an alphabetical list of
boletes given by their scientific names (genus and species). Click on any
name to see the description of that species.
- Use the Technical Key to identify a specimen
through a series of dichotomous characteristic questions, then click the
link when you've finally identified a species. You can then read the
description of that species. The technical key uses characteristics that
may require a microscope or chemicals to determine.
- Use the Field Key to identify a specimen as you
would with the technical key, and click the link to read the description of
the species you identify. The field key doesn't use characteristics
that require special equipment or chemicals to determine.
The original book also included these additional sections:
- Bibliography is a list of other publications supporting
the work presented in this book.
- Microfiche reproduces the single microfiche included
with the original book. The microfiche image includes 54 small photographs
of boletes meant for magnification. You can view the entire microfiche in
any of three resolutions. The resolutions sizes are set to make an
interesting monitor screen background for different sized monitors if you
care to use the image that way. You can look at a numbered list of the
species shown in microfiche. You can also find the individual microfiche
photographs within appropriate species descriptions, enlarged so you can
look at the photo in much more detail.
Using the Keys
To identify boletes to species, you must learn to successfully use either
of the two keys offered here: the technical key or the field key. Each key
is presented on its own page. You'll find at the top of each page a list
of links to different parts of the key, typically links to genus, section,
or subsection. If you've identified a specimen already to genus, section,
or subsection, just click on the appropriate classification and start
working through the key at that point until you find the species you think
is appropriate. If you don't know your bolete's genus, section, or
subsection, click on the top link to start at the beginning of the key.
If you haven't used a dichotomous key before, you'll find that it consists
of a series of two-statement pairs: couplets. To work through the key from
your starting point, find the statement in the first couplet that best
describes your specimen, and look at the link or number to the right of
that statement. If it's a link, click on it to jump to the next part of
the key and continue work from there--or, if you've identified it to
species, to jump to the species description. If you see a number, read
down in the current key to the couplet with that number and continue to
work through the key from there.
Working through a key requires that you know the terminology and
characteristics used to describe boletes. If you don't know them, you can
learn them in the page About Boletes. If you're stymied by a word you
don't find there, you may find it in the glossary of Fungi of the Bay Area.
Reading Species Descriptions
Each species description page contains the original description written by
Dr. Thiers. You'll find the species name, citation, and synonyms.
You'll also find microscopic and macroscopic characteristics, notes on habit,
habitat, and distribution, and observations. If there's a photo of this
species in the microfiche, you'll find a link to that photo at the top of
We've added a few small elements for the online version of this book at the
bottom of the page. If we know about an online photo or description of the
species described, you'll find a link to the photo or description here. In a few instances,
if we know of some taxonomic changes that have taken place since this book was published,
we'll note them here.
The Boletes of California
Copyright © 1975 by Dr. Harry D. Thiers
Additional content for the online edition © 1998 by Michael Wood, Fred Stevens, & Michael Boom
A MykoWeb Page