Scientific name: Fistulina hepatica (Schaeff.) With.
Derivation of name: Fistulina means " with small,
tubes"; hepatica means "liver" in reference to the
similar appearance of this fungus to the liver.
Common names: Beefsteak polypore; Ox-tongue.
Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic, weakly
parasitic; solitary or in overlapping clusters on deciduous
trunks, stumps, and logs, particularly oak (Quercus); July
Dimensions: Caps 7-25 cm wide; stalks (if present) 2.5-
7.5 cm long; lateral to eccentric.
Upper surface: Blood-red when young to brownish-red
with age; sticky when moist, finely roughened.
Pore surface: Whitish to yellowish, becoming reddish-
brown in age or with bruising; pores 1-3 per mm.
Edibility: Edible, tart or citrus-like.
Comments: The flesh of this polypore is off-white to
pinkish, with streaks of red. It exudes a red juice. It looks
like a piece of raw meat! Uniquely, the tubes of this
polypore fungus, while closely packed, are free from each
other (use hand lens).
More information at MushroomExpert.com:
Figure 1. Upper surface of the
Photo © Pam Kaminski.
Figure 2. Lower surface of the
Photo © Pam Kaminki.
Figure 3. A beautiful fruiting of Fistulina hepatica.
Photo © John Plischke III.
Figure 4. A young specimen with reddish juice oozing out
of the cap. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 5. Mature specimen.
Photo © John Dawson.
This section through a mature cap shows a thin
gelatinous top layer, a thick pinkish to reddish meat-like
fleshy layer with paler streaks (resembling marbled meat),
and the layer of tubes at the bottom. Photo © Gary
A reddish juice can be squeezed out of this fleshy
fungus. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 8. Closeup of pore surface of a young specimen.
Photo © Pam
Figure 9. At maturity, the individual tubes of the tube layer
be seen. Unlike other polypores, the tubes of Fistulina
hepatica are not
connected to each other. Fistulina means
hollow tubes or pipes." Photo © Gary Emberger.