Bracket Fungi - Polyporaceae

Bracket fungi are always found growing on wood, often gaining a foothold on a living tree by entering via a wound caused by bird, insect or weather damage, but some species grow on dead timber, especially newly felled wood. Some attack the heartwood, others sapwood. As they age they become harder and harder. Many are beautifully marked in contrasting bands formed as they grow.

Hoof / True Tinder Fungus Fomes fomentarius (Fr. l'Amadouvier): One of the most common polypores here, found on most types of deciduous trees. Young specimens are velvety, but older ones very hard. The fungus becomes very thick as annual layers of spore tubes develop. It has been used by man from at least 10 000 years ago as tinder. It can also be processed into a leather like material, which could be used on wounds to dry them out, or to make accessories such as pouches. Lookalike Ganoderma lipsiense (below). Not edible. Can be seen all year.

Tinder Fungus on a now dead oak tree.
Artist's Bracket Ganoderma lipsiense (syn. G. applanatum): Very common, widespread and long lived. Creamy white on the underside and brown on top. It can be scratched to make brown line drawings, giving rise to its English name. It produces millions of spores, which coat the surrounding area like brown dust. It is attacked by the Yellow Flat-footed Fly Agathomyia wankowiczii (Platypezidae) which cause it to form galls. These galls are diagnostic for this species, as the fly does not attack lookalike species such as other Ganoderma spp. Most common on felled trees, especially poplar Populus spp, oak Quercus spp and beech Fagus sylvestris. Individual specimens can reach 50 cm across and 10 cm thick after some years. They are tough and bitter so not edible.
Artist's Bracket is a formidable parasite. It settles on weakened trees to kill them slowly or as in this case, on a fallen tree (Poplar). The drinks can is for scale.

In the photo, the surrounding herbacious plants have been coloured brown -- these are the spores, it is a characteristic feature of Artist's Bracket. The mushroom at back left sharing this poplar stump is Lentinus tigrinus (below).

Lentinus tigrinus
Dark, almost black when young, white or buff when mature, somewhat funnel shaped, with a wavy edge. 1.5 - 15 cm across and covered in brownish black scales, which become sparser with age. Gills white to yellowish and raggedy. Stem greyish yellow and often bent. Common on wet wood, found near water and especially on Willow Salix spp and Poplar Populus spp, often in groups, May to September. In France it is considered edible when young and quite tasty. Confusion is possible with the Birch Knight Tricholoma pardinum.
Growing on a poplar stump on the banks of the Charente River, August.

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