Fomitopsis pinicola

Scientific name:   Fomitopsis pinicola (Sw.) P. Karst.
Derivation of name:   Fomitopsis means having the
appearance of Fomes; pinicola means "inhabiting pines."
Synonymy:   Fomes pinicola (Swartz ex Fries) Cooke,
Polyporus pinicola Swartz:Fr.
Common names:   Red-belted polypore.
Phylum:   Basidiomycota
Order:   Polyporales
Family:   Fomitopsidaceae
Occurrence on wood substrate:  Saprobic and parasitic;
solitary or in groups on decaying wood or living trees,
especially conifers but also many hardwood species;
Dimensions:  Caps up to 45 cm wide.   
Upper surface:   Caps concentrically grooved; covered
at least in part when young with red to brown to blackish
resinous crust, becoming gray to reddish-brown to
blackish-brown or nearly black; often with a sticky,
resinous, reddish marginal band.
Pore surface: Creamy white to yellowish, fresh specimens
bruise yellow; pores 4-5 per mm
Edibility: Inedible.
Comments: This perennial species has a thick, rounded
margin which is not always red, contrary to its common
name. Over a 100 tree species are reported as hosts for
this fungus.
More information at   

Figure 1. Red-belted polypore can be shelf or hoof-
shaped. These thick specimens give evidence of their
perennial nature. Photo © Larry Grand.

Figure 2. This large hemlock at Cook Forest State Park in
PA is host to a conspicuous fruiting of Fomitopsis pinicola.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 3. The Cook Forest State Park specimens of
red-belted polypore were not particularly colorful.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 4. This specimen, photographed at Baxter State Park
in Maine, exhibits the classic red marginal belt that gives this
species its common name. Photo © Larry Mylin.

Figure 5. Note the gradation of color from the growing, thick
rounded margin to the older, blackish portions near the point
of attachment. Photo © Tom Sargis.

Figure 6. Fomitopsis pinicola is one of a number of
polypore species that exude drops of liquid while growing.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 7. Roody states that a match held next to
the resinous material on the margin will cause it to
melt. Photo © Gary Emberger.


Home | Shape key | Glossary

This page © 2008 by Gary Emberger, Messiah College