The pine spike commonly fruits under pine trees throughout the rainy season, and occasionally even late into Spring when the soil is drying out. All the chroogomphus are reliably edible, with a firm al dente texture, a little bit slimy and almost no flavor at all. C. vinicolor has black spores, smokey maroon to black gills, maroon cap and yellow-ochre flesh (close to the color of a papaya.) C. rutilus looks very simlar, but tends to be fatter and wider than C. vinicolor. Their real differences are microscopic.
Pine spikes make an excellent textural addition to almost any dish, especially when dried or when collected under dry conditions. The reconstituted C. vinicolor is slightly rubbery and holds its firmness in a broth. You can't taste them anyway, so it doesn't really matter how you cook them, as long as you use some other ingredients with flavors for them to absorb.