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Summary: Features include 1) hoof-like growth on hardwood, 2) a woody, gray to gray-brown or gray-black cap with faint horizontal semicircular markings and a light brown margin, 3) light brown flesh, 4) a white-marbled mycelial core at the place of attachment, 5) a brown pore surface with fine circular pores, and 6) cylindric spores. |In Europe before matches were invented, this fungus was ground to a powder and used in tinderboxes. Pieces of Fomes fomentarius context at one time were soaked in saltpeter solution until saturated, then dried carefully to form tinder, which a spark would ignite (Ginns(28)). It has also been used for cautery of wounds. |There is interesting speculation about why the ''Iceman'' was carrying material from Fomes fomentarius and Piptoporus betulinus: "Among the numerous items of equipment with the ''Iceman'', who died more than 5000 years ago on an alpine glacier, were three fungal objects : two different shaped fruitbody pieces of the polypore Piptoporus betulinus, each mounted separately on a leather thong, and, found in his girdle bag, a relatively large quantity of tinder material prepared from the ''true tinder bracket'' Fomes fomentarius. A full description of these items and a chronological report on their identification is given. The question about the possible use of the fungi is discussed on the basis of a comprehensive collection of ethnomycological and pharmacological literature data." (Peintner(5) with Latin names italicized).
Fomes fomentarius has been found in BC, WA, OR, ID, AB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NWT, ON, PE, PQ, SK, AK, CT, IA, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NH, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, VA, VT, WI, and WV, (Gilbertson), TX (Lincoff(2)), and also Europe, Asia, Africa, (Breitenbach).
Cap: up to 15cm across, hoof-shaped, tough, woody, gray to gray-brown or gray-black with dark zones, light brown near margin; concentrically grooved, minutely velvety with hard smooth crust, (Phillips), up to 15cm wide, hoof-shaped, tough, woody, "upper surface of pileus quickly developing a hard glabrous crust, older part gray, zonate and shallowly sulcate, marginal part light brown, also zonate, minutely tomentose", (Gilbertson), margin cream-colored, hazel, or light brown (Lincoff(1)), hoof-shaped, 10-25(30)cm across and equally high, projecting 5-20cm, ocher to red-brown when young, later light to dark gray; with concentric waves and grooves, smooth, with hard bald dark brown crust 0.1-0.2cm thick in cross-section, (Breitenbach)
Flesh: up to 1cm thick, tough, fibrous; yellowish brown, (Phillips), up to 1cm thick, tough-fibrous, azonate, "granular core of varying size developing at upper part of the context next to the substrate, mottled with a mixture of pale and darker areas", (Gilbertson), corky, tough, fibrous, concentrically zoned; light brown; with soft white-marbled mycelial core at place of attachment, (Breitenbach)
Pores: 4-5 per mm, circular; pale brown, darkening when handled; tube layer 0.5-6cm thick, very thick, not distinctly layered; light brown becoming stuffed with white mycelium, (Phillips), 4-5 per mm, with thick tomentose walls, surface concave; pale brown; tube layers indistinctly stratified, making up most of the interior tissue of the fruitbody, "light brown and becoming stuffed with white mycelium", (Gilbertson), 3-4 per mm, rounded, cream then light ocher to brownish, (Breitenbach)
Chemical Reactions: KOH on a small piece of the fruit body from the upper surface gives dark blood red reaction (Schwarze)
Odor: during its growth it develops a marked banana-like odor (Lincoff(1)), pleasantly fungoid (Breitenbach), none (Miller)
Taste: rather bitter (Breitenbach)
Microscopic: spores 12-18(20) x 4-7 microns, cylindric, smooth, inamyloid, colorless; basidia 4-spored, 23-25 x 7-9 microns, with swollen base, with basal clamp; cystidioles 24-37 x 3.5-7.5 microns, thin-walled, fusoid, with basal clamp, also cystidia-like elements near dissepiment edges, up to 120 microns long, 3-5 microns wide, projecting up to 55 microns, some lightly incrusted; hyphal system trimitic, context generative hyphae inconspicuous, 2-4 microns wide, thin-walled, nodose-septate, context skeletal hyphae 3-8 microns wide, thick-walled, pale yellowish brown in KOH, aseptate, context binding hyphae 1.5-3 microns wide, thick-walled, much-branched, aseptate, "granular core a mixture of binding hyphae, narrow skeletal hyphae, and irregularly shaped, thick-walled sclerids that are brown in KOH, tramal hyphae similar, except for sclerids", (Gilbertson), spores 18.5-19 x 5.5-6 microns, elliptic-cylindric, smooth, inamyloid, colorless, (Breitenbach)
Spore Deposit: lemon-yellow (Phillips), white (Lincoff(2)), light yellow (Miller)
Habitat / Range
on dead or living hardwood trees, including birch, beech, maple and poplar, (Phillips), perennial, on living and dead hardwoods, especially Betula (birch) and Alnus (alder), causing white mottled heartrot of living hardwoods, continuing to fruit on dead and fallen trees, (Gilbertson), on dead hardwoods or wounds in living trees, including maple, birch, beech, hickory, poplar, and cherry, (Lincoff(2)), fruiting all season (Miller), spores produced in fall (Bacon)
Phellinus igniarius similar in color but may be shelf-like, old caps often black and cracked, has often stratified tube layers that are often stuffed when old with white mycelial threads showing as streaks or flecks when cut open, and spores are 5-7 x 4-6 microns long, (Arora), Phellinus igniarius when very young and (rarely) older may have a smooth gray cap surface resembling F. fomentarius, but the context is dark brown with white streaks, spores are 5.0-6.5 x 4.5-6 microns, and setae are present, (Ginns(28)), Phellinus igniarius has hard dark brown flesh, (Breitenbach), Phellinus igniarius has different reaction to KOH; Phellinus species are more like cork than wood and usually have setae (Lincoff(2)); Fomitopsis species have whitish flesh (Lincoff(2)), Fomitopsis mounceae will melt if a lit match is held to the cap surface, whereas Fomes fomentarius (and Fomitopsis ochracea) will char.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-10-22 12:49:10 AM
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