Common Name(s): Giant Polypore
The brackets produced by this fungus appear annually in late-summer to autumn. The fungus is commonly found growing on Beech trees. It creates the fruiting bodies (brackets) as part of its reproduction process; it is the fruiting bodies that produce and release the spores into the air.
The brackets may be numerous or consist just of one or two, with a diameter up to 300mm. They are fan shaped, normally arranged as a rosette. Their upper surface is concentrically zoned light to dark brown, becoming darker with age, the underside is white. If the underside is pressed with a thumb it will bruise to black (this is a useful means of identifying it from Grifola frondosa which wont bruise). The flesh is white, thin and fibrous. The brackets eventually disintegrate into a sticky black mass with the appearance of the first frosts.
This fungus is normally found around the base of the tree trunk but may be growing in isolation on a submerged root some distance from the tree. Its colouring can make it difficult to spot amongst the Autumn leaf litter.
The presence of this fungus can normally spell the end of Beech trees growing in urban areas.
Further investigation and assessment is highly important if found.
The following pictures show the fungus on a Beech tree. Look carefully in the foreground to see them around the stem base.
Please Note: Many Fungi are toxic and individual reactions to them vary widely. Do not touch or eat fungi unless you have accurately identified them. The AIE can not accept any legal responsibility or liability for errors in identification or for individual reactions to the consumption of fungi.