Fomes fomentarius

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Fomes fomentarius

On beech. 15 October 2014 Hampshire. Photograph copyright Leif Goodwin

Common Name

Hoof Fungus, Tinder Fungus

Fruiting Body

Broadly attached to the substrate, hoof shaped, upper surface layered, grey, underside brown, to about 25 cm wide

Flesh

Tough, pale brown

Smell

Fruity, faint

Taste

Acrid

Season

All year

Distribution

Common

Habitat

Parasitic on living deciduous trees

Spore Print

Yellow

Microscopic Features

Spores ellipsoidal, smooth (15-20) x (5-7) µm2

Edibility

Inedible

Notes

Traditionally the fungus is used as tinder to start a fire. The Ice Man, a 5,000 year old corpse found preserved in snow in the Alps had on his person a prehistoric fire making kit, consisting of flint, iron pyrites, and strands of tinder fungus. He would have struck the pyrites against the flint to generate sparks in order to ignite the tinder fungus.