Also known as ‘penny bun bolete’, cep is an edible fungus which can be found growing in soil at the edges of clearings in broadleaf or coniferous forests. It generally grows in groups of two or three and employs a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the trees it grows by, gaining carbohydrates whilst providing water and minerals. It is highly favoured as a versatile and pleasant-tasting mushroom, but is also favoured by insect larvae so must be harvested when young, before the larvae arrive.
The cep has a convex cap of yellow-brown to reddish-brown with a white line around the edge, with a slightly greasy appearance. The stem is white, bulging in the middle.
- Cap diameter: 7-30cm
- Stalk length: 8-25cm
- Stalk thickness: 2-7cm
Widespread throughout the UK and particularly common in the Cairngorms National Park
When to see
June – October
- In Italian folklore, the cep is said to sprout on the night of a new moon. The mushrooms actually grow after warm periods of rainfall, followed by a drop in soil temperature.
- ‘Cep’ is actually the French name for these mushrooms, meaning ‘trunk’ because of their thick stems. Other names include ‘porcini’ in Italian, meaning ‘little pigs’ and ‘steinpilz’ in German, meaning ‘stone mushroom’