Monday, May 24, 2010

A toothed polypore

On my previous post I mentioned that on my last "foray" around the block I found a mushroom, which I couldn't identify, and that I had posted it on Mushroom Observer to fish for some clues of what it could be (by the way, in my opinion this is the best way to get multiple opinions on the identity of a specimen). One day later, Darvin DeShazer from the Sonoma County Mycological Association saw it and suggested that it could be a Spongipellis pachyodon ( Pers.) Kotl. and Pouz. According to the Wikipedia, the Spongipellis genus is widely distributed, it is a member of the Polyporacea family and it has eight species. In spite of their wide distribution, none of the Spongipellis were listed on any of my field guides (i.e. Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Appalachians and the Central Appalachians or The Falcon Guide to North American Mushrooms).

Date:23/05/2010

Habitat: Growing on wood (live tree) in large clusters near each other. Multiple solitary individuals also present in the same tree.


Description: Imbricate (growing directly from the tree, without a stipe), large clusters > 10 cm of diameter, smaller individuals solitaru and < 1 cm. Cuticle is pulverulent, rugose, light gray with a dark beige margin. Hymenium with cream colored spines, soft and with flat ends (not pointy)

Impression: Although I think this mushroom does look like a member of the Spongipellis family, as you can see on my photo, the specimen in question in not white and it has a darker margin, which could suggest that it is another species (or not - I am not sure about this). Since I am a novice amateur mycologist, I was surprised with the idea that Polypores could be toothed and, for some reason, I had the naive impression that a mushroom either had teeth or pores (apparently one can have both). According to Michael Kuo's Mushroom Expert, this fungi is a parasite that "causes a white heart rot in living trees throughout eastern North America". Roger Mushrooms describe it as being crust-like or spreading on surface of logs, frequently with many smaller patches or caps fused together into sheets, but suggests that it grows on fallen logs of maple, beech and oak (not the case here). Both sites describe the cuticle as being tomentose ("finely velvety") but, while Kuo describe the color as being "white to dull yellowish", Roger Mushrooms describe it as being "cream colored".

This mushroom is not edible (I imagine that it is too hard to eat anyway).

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