E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Fomitopsis pinicola (Sw.: Fr.) P. Karst.
red-belted polypore

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Rosemary Taylor  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #86062)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Fomitopsis pinicola
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Species Information

Fomitopsis pinicola has hoof-shaped or shelf-like hard fruiting bodies with reddish or partially reddish upper surface (sometimes looking varnished), more lightly colored rounded margins, and pallid pores that do not bruise brown. This is and the most commonly collected polypore in North America (Phillips). It is also the most common conk in the Pacific Northwest (Trudell). It is found in BC, WA, OR, ID, and also AB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NWT, ON, PE, PQ, SK, YT, AK, AZ, CA, CO, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NH, NM, NV, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, and WY, (Gilbertson).
5-40(75)cm broad, 3-22cm thick, knob-like at first, becoming hoof-shaped, shelf-like, or bracket-like, in outline fan-shaped to semicircular, hard and woody when old, growing margin rounded; starting as whitish, pale yellow or lilac-tinged knob, when mature "usually at least partially reddish to dark red, but sometimes brown and often rusty or blackish-brown toward the base and brightly colored (white, yellow, ochraceous, or reddish) at the margin"; developing a thin hard resinous crust that is sometimes slightly varnished, when old concentrically furrowed and/or zoned, (Arora), up to 38cm along wood, projecting 20cm, 15cm thick, usually without stem, rarely bent back from flat pore surface to form a cap, or entirely flat, applanate (flattened horizontally) to hoof-shaped; upper surface at first with a sticky reddish brown resinous layer that often persists over younger marginal areas, becoming grayish to brown or blackish; becoming bald, sometimes appearing varnished, smooth to grooved, (Gilbertson)
corky or woody, very tough, white to pinkish-buff or yellow when young, pale brownish or straw-colored in old age; usually bruising pinkish when actively growing , (Arora), up to 12cm thick, corky to woody; cream to buff, not zoned or zoned, (Gilbertson)
3-5 per mm, white or pale yellow becoming brownish when old, "not turning brown when scratched but sometimes bruising yellow or pinkish-lilac"; tube layers distinctly stratified, each layer 0.2-0.8cm thick, (Arora), 5-6 per mm, circular, cream, with thick entire walls; tube layers up to 6cm thick, indistinctly stratified, sometimes separated by thin flesh layer, colored as flesh, (Gilbertson)
typically absent
Chemical Reactions:
flesh stains reddish to dark reddish-brown in KOH (Arora)
rather strong and fungal when fresh (Arora), of tobacco (Lincoff(1)), intensely acidic when young, (Breitenbach), citrine-like when fresh and growing (Miller)
slightly acid and bitter (Lincoff(1)), bitter (Breitenbach), none (Miller)
spores 5-8 x 3.5-5 microns, cylindric to elliptic, smooth, (Arora), spores 6-9 x 3.5-4.5 microns, cylindric-elliptic, smooth, inamyloid, colorless; basidia 4-spored, 17-24 x 7-8.5 microns, short-clavate, with basal clamp; cystidia up to 150 microns long, 3-10 microns wide, projecting up to 90 microns, "hyphoid, often thick-walled at the base, thin-walled toward the apex", narrowed at tip or not; hyphal system "trimitic, contextual generative hyphae thin-walled, with clamps, 2-5 microns in diam, contextual skeletal hyphae thick-walled, hyaline, [line appears to have been left out here ending description of skeletal hyphae and starting description of binding hyphae] thick-walled, nonseptate, much branched, 1.5-4 microns in diam, tramal hyphae similar", (Gilbertson)
Spore Deposit:
white or pale yellowish (Arora), light yellow (Miller)

Habitat / Range

perennial, "solitary or in groups on dead trees, logs, and stumps or rarely on living trees", (Arora), on "dead conifers and occasionally causing heartrot of living conifers, a major heartrot fungus in black cherry", "also occasionally on aspen and birch", causes brown cubical rot of living and dead conifers and hardwoods, conspicuous "white mycelial felts develop in shrinkage cracks of the decayed wood", (Gilbertson), buttons forming in spring, but conks present all year round, (Miller), spores produced in fall (Bacon)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Fomes pinicola (Sw.) Fr.
Polyporus pinicola (Sw.) Fr.
Ungulina marginata (Pers.) Pat.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


no (Arora)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Gilbertson(1), Arora(1)*, Phillips(1)*, Lincoff(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Miller(14)*, Courtecuisse(1)*, McKnight(1)*, Breitenbach(2)*, Trudell(4)*, Sept(1)*, Bacon(1)*, AroraPocket*, Buczacki(1)*, Voitk(2)

References for the fungi

General References