Stereum complicatum

Scientific name:  Stereum complicatum (Fr.) Fr.
Derivation of nameComplicatum means "folded back
on itself."  
Synonyms:  Thelephora complicata Fr.
Common name(s):  Crowded parchment
Phylum:   Basidiomycota
Order:   Russulales
Family:   Stereaceae
Occurrence on wood substrate:  Saprobic; crowded on
dead twigs, branches, and stumps of deciduous trees; July
through January, overwinters. 
Dimensions: Shelf-like caps 0.3 to 1.5 cm wide.  
Sterile upper surface: The upper surface of these fan-
shaped or semicircular caps are orange-cinnamon to
reddish-brown, zoned, and silky-hairy. Caps often overlap
and are laterally fused.
Fertile lower surface: The smooth lower surface is orange,
fading to a cream color. Slight ridges occur where the caps
Edibility: Inedible.
 This is a very common species. There are a
number of closely related Stereum species. Some species
"bleed" (e.g., S. gausapatum) a red fluid when cut or
scratched, others do not. The variability among these
species is such that some mycologists group Stereum
, Stereum complicatum, and even Stereum
gausapatum as varieties of a single species. The web sites
below explore some of the confusion regarding the
application of certain names to certain Stereum species.

More information at
More information at

Figure 1. Crowded parchment on a dead tree.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 2. Note the zoned, fan-shaped basidiocarps. The
cap margins of this fungus are often lighter in color,
smooth and shiny. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 3. The fertile, smooth underside is visible on the
right compared to the sterile upper surface on the left.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 4. This log is almost completely covered by Stereum
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 5. Colonies on a portion of the log in Figure 4. The
slight ridges (observed as darker lines between colonies) on
the fertile lower surfaces are regions where the separate
fruit bodies have fused laterally. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 6. This particular view of Stereum complicatum
shows the effused-reflexed growth habit of this fungus. Part
of the fungus is spread out flat (effused) against the substrate
and part forms shelf-like caps (reflexed portions) projecting
away from the substrate. Photo © Gary Emberger.


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This page © 2008 by Gary Emberger, Messiah College