Beefsteak Fungus

Fistulina hepatica

Appears in

By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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Beefsteak Fungus Fistulina hepatica (Schaeff.) With. (illustrated 45% life size) Bracket 10–25cm across, 2–6cm thick, usually single, tongue-shaped, sometimes on a short rudimentary stem; pinkish to orange-red, finally purple-brown; upper surface moist to tacky, rough with rudimentary pores, especially towards margin. Flesh mottled dark flesh-pink with lighter veining and blood-like sap, like raw meat; thick, succulent; taste sourish, smell pleasant. Tubes 10–15mm long, arising free from each other but adhering at maturity; whitish or yellowish. Pores 3 per mm, circular; whitish at first, bruising reddish-brown. Spores 4.5–6×3–4¼, ovate; pallid-ochraceous. Habitat parasitic on oak, especially ancient trees, and sometimes on chestnut. Usually found at the base of the trunk; late summer to autumn. Common. Edible. Note causes brown rot of wood, and therefore has a certain economic value; the infected oak timber is of a darker, richer colour than normal and this ‘brown oak’ is much in demand in the furniture industry.