Hoof Fungus or Tinder Bracket Fomes fomentarius

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By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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Hoof Fungus or Tinder Bracket Fomes fomentarius (L.) J. Kickx (illustrated (e) 20% life size) Bracket 5–45×3–25cm across, 2–25cm thick, hoof-shaped, usually discrete but several may occur on the same trunk; upper surface with a hard, horny crust, concentrically grooved and zoned grey; hard and woody. Flesh cinnamon-brown; hard, fibrous; taste acrid, smell slightly fruity. Tubes 2–7mm long in each layer; rusty brown. Pores 2–3 per mm, circular; light grey-brown, darkening when handled. Spores 15–20×5–7¼, oblong-elliptical; lemon-yellow. Hyphal structure trimitic; generative hyphae with clamp connections. Habitat usually on birch in Scotland and northern England, but also on beech. Becoming more common in southern England, mostly on beech and sycamore; perennial, sporulating in spring to early summer. Common. Not edible. Note “Ötzi”, the 5,300-year-old ice mummy found in the Alps in 1991, carried this fungus, apparently as part of a fire-starting kit.