Resinous Polypore (Ischnoderma resinosum)
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Ischnoderma resinosum is a species of fungus in the family Fomitopsidaceae. Commonly known as the late fall polypore, resinous polypore, or benzoin bracket, this shelf mushroom is (3–10 in) across, velvety, dark red/brown, aging black. Its spongy but tough, sweet smelling flesh exudes a red liquid when young. This fungus fruits on hardwood logs and stumps in late autumn. A widely distributed species, it has been recorded from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.
The species was originally described as Boletus resinosus in 1794 by German botanist Heinrich Schrader It has acquired an extensive synonymy in its taxonomic history, having been juggled between several genera. Petter Karsten transferred it to Ischnoderma in 1879 to give it the name by which it is currently known.
Overview: This fungi occurs singly or in groups on fallen hardwood tree trunks and branches sometimes in overlapping clusters. It causes a white to yellow rot of the trees that separates the annual rings in the wood and often smells like anise. They can fruit until the first hard freeze.
Distinguishing Features: This fungi’s cap has a folded-over edge above a spreading pore surface making it look like mummified ears. Late fall polypore are velvety to touch and sometimes they emit droplets of water, which ball up on top of the resinous surface like beads. When young it is quite thick and fleshy, with a pale brownish surface and a thick white margin. In maturity they are dark brown, sometimes with zones of color, fairly smooth, dry, and tough. A tan to reddish brown resin often encrusts these fungi, whose interiors are white. There is no stem.
Height: These do not have a stem to give it height but caps are up to 25 cm (10”) wide and 2.5 cm (1”) thick.
Habitat: Saprobic on the deadwood of conifers and hardwoods and conifers. Prefers both recently fallen wood and on old downed wood.
Spore print: White.
Season: September to November.
Gills: not applicable.
This fungi is edible when young due to high water content; although edible this is not necessarily palatable. They become cork-like with age and inedible.
Other name: Late Fall Polypore.