Birch Polypore

(Fomitopsis betulina)

Conservation Status
Birch Polypore
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Birch Polypore is a very common, easily recognized bracket fungus. It occurs in Europe, Asia, and North America. In the United States it occurs from Maine to North Carolina, west to Kansas, and in the northwest. It is very common in the woodlands of eastern Minnesota. It grows alone, in groups, or in columns exclusively on birch, usually on dead trees and logs, sometimes on living trees. It obtains its nutrients from dead wood (saprobic). It also attacks weakened live trees, killing them and then feeding on the dead wood (necrotrophic). It is annual but the cap persists through the winter.

The cap is kidney-shaped to almost round in outline, 2 to 10 (5 to 25 cm) wide, and ¾ to 2 (2 to 6 cm) thick. It is white, smooth, and hairless when young. The upper surface is covered with a thin skin. As it ages, the skin becomes pale grayish-brown, cracks, and often breaks away in small patches. The margin is thick, rounded, and rolled under, creating a “curb” around the pore surface on the underside.

The pore surface is white at first, turning yellowish-brown as it ages. It is recessed, with the curb-like margin extending below it. The pores are small, with 2 to 4 pores per millimeter. The bracket is annual so there is only one layer of pores.

There is often no stalk. When present, the stalk is thick, up to 2 (6 cm) long, and attached to the side or top of the cap.

The flesh is white, thick, and corky. It is edible when young but it is tough and it may be bitter.

The spore print is white.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Deciduous woodlands. Birch.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

June through fall, but present year round

 
     
 
Use
 
 

Ötzi, the Tyrolean Ice Man who was frozen 5,000 years ago and thawed in 1991, carried two species of fungus with him: true tinder polypore and birch polypore. The former was part of a fire lighting kit, the latter was probably used for medicinal purposes.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.

 
  4/22/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Very common in eastern Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Division Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subdivision Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Polyporales (shelf fungi)  
  Family Fomitopsidaceae (bracket polypores)  
  Genus Fomitopsis  
       
 

This species was originally classified in 1788 as Boletus betulinus. In 1881 it was transferred to the genus Piptoporus. Based on molecular phylogenetic studies published in 2013 and 2016, it was transferred to the genus Fomitopsis in 2017.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Boletus betulinus

Piptoporus betulinus

Polyporus betulinus

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Birch Bracket

Birch Conk

Birch Polypore

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Polypore

A bracket fungi. A fungi that produces its spores in pores on the underside of a woody fruiting body (conk).

 

Saprobic

Obtaining nutrients from non-living organic matter, such as decaying plant or animal matter.

 
 
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Greg Watson

 
    Birch Polypore      
 

Luciearl

 
    Birch Polypore   Birch Polypore  
           
    Birch Polypore      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    Birch Polypore   Birch Polypore  
           
    Birch Polypore   Birch Polypore  
           
    Birch Polypore   Birch Polypore  
           
    Birch Polypore      

 

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slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Birch Polypore — Mushroom Identification & Medicinal Benefits with Adam Haritan
Learn Your Land
 
   
 
About

Dec 12, 2016

The birch polypore (Fomitopsis betulina, Piptoporus betulinus) is a mushroom whose use by humans dates back at least 5,300 years. Since then, this species has been utilized as a food, medicine, styptic, polisher, razor strop, fire transporter, and more. In this video, we take a look at identifying features, as well as its impressive medicinal profile.

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Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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  Greg Watson
4/21/2022

Location: Eagles Bluff Park, La Crescent, MN

Birch Polypore  
  Luciearl
9/15/2019

Location: Cass County

Birch Polypore  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 10/1/2019

Last Updated:

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