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

Trametes versicolor (L.: Fr.) Pilat

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

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Rosemary Taylor  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #85639)

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Distribution of Trametes versicolor
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Species Information

{See also Trametes versicolor and similar polypores Table.} Care must be taken not to confuse this genus with Stereum (see Crust category), whose underside will not reveal pores when examined with a hand lens. Trametes versicolor forms thin leathery bracket-like or shelf-like clustered caps that are strongly zoned with narrow concentric bands of contrasting colors, hairy zones usually alternating with silky-smooth ones. The underside is whitish to yellowish or grayish and has small pores easily visible with a hand lens. It is very common on hardwood logs, stumps and branches. Stereum hirsutum is also common and looks somewhat similar, but a hand lens does not reveal pores on the underside (see Crust category). On conifers, compare with the common Trichaptum abietinum.

Trametes versicolor is found in BC, WA, OR, ID, AB, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, PQ, SK, YT, AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, and WY, (Gilbertson)
2-7(10)cm broad, shelf-like or bracket-like, tongue-shaped becoming fan-shaped, or growing in circular rosettes, "thin and leathery when fresh, rigid or slightly flexible when dry", flat or wavy; color "variable: a mixture of white, gray, brown, yellowish-buff, bluish, reddish, or black (or even greenish from a coating of algae), or sometimes dark brown with a white margin"; dry, velvety or silky, strongly zoned with narrow concentric bands of contrasting colors, hairy zones usually alternating with silky-smooth ones; "margin often wavy and white or creamy when actively growing", (Arora), bracket-like or bent outward to form shelf-like cap from pore surface growing flat on wood, dimidiate [roughly semicircular]; very variable in color, "with sharply contrasted concentric zones of various shades of brown, buff, reddish-brown or bluish colors"; hirsute [hairy] to tomentose, (Gilbertson)
0.1-0.2cm thick, tough; white, (Arora), up to 0.5cm thick, "tough-fibrous, with a thin black layer below the surface tomentum"; cream-colored, (Gilbertson)
3-5 per mm, white to dingy yellowish; tube layer up to 0.2cm thick, (Arora), 4-5 per mm, angular to circular, thick-walled; cream to cinereous; tube layer up to 0.3cm thick, colored as flesh and continuous with it, (Gilbertson)
absent or rudimentary (Arora)
not distinctive (Phillips)
not distinctive (Phillips)
spores 5-6 x 1.5-2 microns, cylindric, slightly curved, smooth, inamyloid, colorless; basidia 4-spored, 15-20 x 4-5 microns, clavate, with basal clamp; cystidia absent; hyphae trimitic, generative hyphae of context 2.5-3 microns wide, "thin-walled, with clamps", skeletal hyphae of context 4-6 microns wide, "thick-walled, nonseptate", binding hyphae of context 2-4 microns wide, "thick-walled, nonseptate, much branched"; hyphae of trama similar, (Gilbertson), spores 4-6 x 1.5-2.5 microns, (Arora)
Spore Deposit:
white or yellowish (Arora)

Habitat / Range

typically "in groups, rows, tiers, shelving masses, or overlapping clusters on logs, stumps, and fallen branches of dead hardwoods", "sometimes also on wounds in living trees and rarely on conifers", (Arora), annual, often in large imbricate [shingled] clusters on dead wood of numerous genera of hardwoods, associated with a white rot of dead hardwoods, (Gilbertson), fruiting from late spring to fall (Miller), may be seen year round (Buczacki)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Coriolus versicolor (L.: Fr.) Quel.
Helotium virgultorum (Vahl) Fr.
Phialea virgultorum Sacc.
Polyporus versicolor L.: Fr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


no (Phillips)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Gilbertson(1), Arora(1)*, Phillips(1)*, Lincoff(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Miller(14)*, Courtecuisse(1)*, Trudell(4)*, Sept(1)*, Bacon(1)*, AroraPocket*, Buczacki(1)*, Desjardin(6)*, Ginns(28)*, Siegel(2)*, Marrone(1)*

References for the fungi

General References