What You Should Know
Albatrellus ovinus is a large, dense mushroom being rich in cell wall material. This creamy to pale gray-brown polypore looks like an agaric or a hedgehog mushroom from above, but it has minute pores on the underside. It stains lemon or greenish-yellow, particularly on the pores. The skin of the convex cap often cracks with age. It has a sturdy stem and very firm, mild to slightly bitter white flesh. The mushroom grows under conifers, mycorrhizal with spruce on moss-covered soil.
Other names: Sheep Polypore, Forest Lamb, Ningyoutakemodoki (Japanese).
Albatrellus ovinus Mushroom Identification
Mycorrhizal with conifers in a wide variety of ecosystems (under Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir in the Rocky Mountains, under Norway spruce and other conifers in the Appalachians, and under various firs, pines, and spruces in northern and northeastern regions); usually growing gregariously (sometimes in dense clusters); summer and fall (also overwinter in coastal California, where manzanita is reported, along with conifers, as a host); widely distributed in North America.
4-20 cm across; usually circular in outline but sometimes irregular; loosely convex, flat, or shallowly depressed in age; rarely fused; dry; smooth at first, usually becoming conspicuously cracked, with pale to yellowish flesh exposed in the cracks; whitish or buff when young, but usually soon tan.
Descending the stem; white to creamy or yellow with age; sometimes bruising faintly greenish or yellowish; pores very small (2-5 per mm) and circular except near the stem in older specimens, where they can become larger and more angular (or even nearly tooth-like); tubes to 4 mm deep.
3-10 cm long; 1-4 cm wide; central or a little off-center; whitish to tan; smooth or very finely velvety.
Whitish or yellowish.
KOH instantly dirty golden yellow on flesh.
Not typically developing reddish colors on any surfaces; flesh drying yellowish to olive.
Spores 4-5 x 2.5-3.5 µ; smooth; subglobose or broadly elliptical; inamyloid; walls fairly thick. Gloeoplerous hyphae present, staining in phloxine. Clamp connections absent.
Albatrellus subrubescens microscopically, the spores of A. subrubescens are amyloid, while the ones of A. ovinus are not.
Albatrellus ovinus Taxonomy and Etymology
When Jacob Christian Schaefer described this unusual polypore in 1762, he gave it the scientific binomial name Boletus ovinus, which established its base name. In 1903, the American mycologist William Alphonso Murrill (1869-1957) transferred the species to its present genus with the scientific name Albatrellus ovinus.
The Alba- means white, and -ellus means something much smaller than the norm, which in this case must be pores.
The specific epithet ovinus means "sheep" in Latin.
Albatrellus ovinus Synonyms
Boletus ovinus Schaeff., 1774
Boletus crispus Batsch, 1783
Boletus fragilis J.F. Gmel., 1792
Boletus albidus Pers., 1801
Albatrellus albidus (Pers.) Gray, 1821
Polyporus ovinus (Schaeff.) Fr., 1821
Caloporus ovinus (Schaeff.) Quél., 1886
Scutiger ovinus (Schaeff.) Murrill, 1920
Boletus carinthiacus Pers., 1801
Polyporus subsquamosus var. luteolus Beck, 1886
Polyporus limonius Velen., 1922
Polyporus lutescens Velen., 1922
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