Major Groups > Polypores > Fistulina hepatica


Fistulina hepatica

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Fistulinaceae > Fistulina . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Sometimes called the "beefsteak" or the "ox tongue," this polypore is virtually unmistakable. It looks like a slab of red meat clinging to a stump or a tree. Its flesh is soft and streaked-looking, and when the mushroom is fresh it exudes a blood-like juice when squeezed. Species in the genus Fistulina have clearly separated tubes, packed tightly together (see the illustration on the page for Pseudofistulina radicata for an example).


Ecology: Saprobic and sometimes weakly parasitic on the wood of hardwoods (especially oaks and chestnut); causing a brown rot; annual; growing alone or in small groups near the bases of trees and on stumps; summer and fall; eastern North America, Texas, and California.

Cap: Up to 30 cm across; irregular in shape but often fan-shaped or tongue-like; sometimes fused laterally with other caps; finely bumpy, velvety, or fairly smooth; the margin lobed; red, reddish orange, or liver colored.

Pore Surface: Whitish or pale pinkish, becoming reddish brown in age; bruising reddish brown; tubes distinctly separated (use a hand lens), to 1.5 cm long.

Stem: Absent or rudimentary and lateral; colored like the cap; firm.

Flesh: Whitish, streaked with reddish areas; thick; soft; watery; exuding a reddish juice when squeezed.

Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive; taste sour or acidic.

Spore Print: Pinkish to pinkish brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 3.5-4.5 x 2.5-3 µ; smooth; ovoid; inamyloid. True cystidia absent. Hyphal system monomitic.

REFERENCES: (Schaeffer, 1774) Withering, 1792. (Fries, 1821; Persoon, 1825; Saccardo, 1888; Atkinson, 1901; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Gilbertson & Ryvarden, 1986; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Kuo, 2007; Binion et al., 2008.)

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Fistulina hepatica

Fistulina hepatica

Fistulina hepatica

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Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2004, July). Fistulina hepatica. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: