Wednesday, March 28, 2012

September fungi—a few uncommon polypores--Spongipellis unicolor, Berkeley's polypore, Abortiporus biennis

I found a few things that were visually appealing, but mystifying when it came to ID.

This small pale blob (about an inch across) was intriguing, with its lumpy network of holes, but I could not find anything remotely like it in any of my books or online. I wasn’t even sure it was a fungus! Could have been an egg-case, maybe. The problem, as it turned out, was this was a very young growth stage of this fungusbut thanks to the magic of the internet, I posted the image on you-know-where, tagged it with the names of the authors of some of the best mushroom books, and somebody ID’d it definitively in minutes (Gary Lincoff himself!). Then I plugged in the name, and got somewhere!
very young Abortiporus biennis
                                       Abortiporus biennis

As Abortiporus biennis matures, it turns into what Michael Kuo ( calls “…a gnarled, messy-looking mass…” and it oozes a reddish juice. Yum!

After seeing some images of mature ones, I realized I must have stumbled upon them, but thought they were something moldy or too far gone to bother getting any closer. You can look them up, if you want, but they do look a mess. In any case, many thanks, Gary Lincoff! Your years of experience are a true treasure.

Next on the menu is another peculiar polypore which also stumped me.

Spongipellis unicolor (2)
                         Spongipellis unicolor

I confess that when I see most bracket-like tree fungi I often roll my eyes and keep walking, mainly because I have a lot of trouble with them—to me, they tend to blur together, and I can’t keep track of which is which. Never seen these before, though, and they were quite distinctive. Had to pull out the big guns and pester the pros again.

Spongipellis unicolor close up

Looks like some kind of bread or cake! Or, as Michael Kuo so eloquently puts it, “…kind of a big, doinky doofus…” among polypores. That must be why it got my attention! He also says “…it is not often mentioned in field guides (perhaps because it's too much of a doofus?).” The above specimen is about 5” from top to bottom. They grow on oaks, mostly. They’re parasitic.

Below is a nice swirling Berkeley’s polypore, Bondarzewia berkeleyi. It was a good 16” across. And there were three of them. These are not uncommon (and they come up in the same spot for years), and I didn’t have to send telegrams to experts for this one (partly due to an ID mishap when I found one before. Now I know!).

Berkeley's polypore
                                             Bondarzewia berkeleyi

Just a pretty fungus swirl on the forest floor.


  1. This looks very much like Spongipellis unicolor.

    1. Yeah, that's why I used that as the caption under the photo!
      Thanks for your input. Lord knows I need help sometimes!

  2. Gorgeous photos as usual. Must say I have never encountered these polypores, or even pictures of them before. Very cool.

  3. Spongipellis unicolor kind of reminds me of a muppet. I don't know much about fungi but I love your photographs.- Dee

  4. That Spongipellis seems to invite teasing.
    I don't know much about fungi either but they sure can be photogenic.

  5. I think I have found one of these here in upstate New York but I'm not sure if it was on an oak tree I'm thinking popular is that a possibility?