What You Should Know
Phellinus populicola is an inedible polypore fungus living on aspens and thrives in old spruce forests. It has a large and wedge-shaped perennial fruit body. Its upper surface is zone-like and gray or brownish. When older, the surface cracks and becomes covered with moss. The lower surface pore layer is brownish.
This mushroom is a wood decayer that uses wood's brown lignin, leaving white cellulose behind. The species is rare.
Ochroporus populicola is a synonym.
Phellinus populicola Mushroom Identification
Upper surface blackish, eventually developing a network of cracks; softer outer margin remaining whitish even on very old fruitbodies; usually 5 to 15cm across, concentrically ridged in annual layers; projecting 5 to 10cm from the substrate. The flesh inside these brackets is very hard. Occasionally, very old specimens 25-30cm in diameter and 15 to 20cm thick are encountered in Scandinavian countries.
Tubes and Pores
The tubes are brown, and spaced at 4 to 6 per mm; they terminate in round or slightly ellipsoidal gray-brown to cinnamon-brown pores typically 0.12mm in diameter.
Subspherical, smooth, 5-6 x 4-5μm; hyaline; inamyloid.
Odor and Taste
Parasitic on large poplars and Aspen, usually continuing as a saprobe for several years after the tree has died.
Summer to Autumn.
Phellinus populicola Look-Alikes
Also growing on aspen, forms smaller, appressed-hoof-shaped fruiting bodies with a beveled cap.
Is extremely similar in appearance and grows on the wood of many hardwoods, but not on aspen.
Phellinus populicola Taxonomy and Etymology
This tough bracket fungus was first described scientifically in 1975 by the Finnish mycologist Tuomo Niemelä, who gave it the binomial scientific name Phellinus populicola.
In 1886 the genus Phellinus was circumscribed by French mycologist Lucien Quélet; the generic name comes from phell- meaning cork, while the suffix -inus denotes a superlative. The implication, therefore, is that fungi in the genus Phellinus are the most cork-like (the toughest) of them all. The specific epithet populicola indicates that this wood-rotting fungus consumes the wood of poplar trees.
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Photo 2 - Author: Hans Lindqvist (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: caspar s (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
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Photo 5 - Author: Ahto Täpsi (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
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