This page is used to feature mushrooms that are prevalent for the particular time of the year or, during
the winter months, to feature some of the less desirable or hard to find mushrooms.
To see some of our
previous stars follow this link to an index of previously featured
January's Mushroom of the Month
Piptoporus betulinus: the Birch Polypore
Photo Credit: J. Marqua
The birch polypore was one of the mushrooms the Tyrolean
ice man was carrying when he perished.
Experts speculate that he was using the mushroom
medicinally to help with digestive problems. This fleshy
polypore with a tan to whitish cap with an inrolled
margin and white to brownish pores is edible though
reportedly it is bitter.
The round to kidney-shaped to hoof-shaped cap ranges
from 1 to 10 inches (2.5 to 25 cm.) across.
The margin of the cap is always inrolled.
The white, thick, rubbery flesh ranges from ¾ to
1 ½ inches (1.875 to 3.75 cm.) thick.
The stalk if present is rudimentary.
The odor is strong and pleasant while the taste
is slightly bitter.
Piptoporus betulinus is found singly or in groups
on live or dead birch trees and logs.
It is found throughout the Northern hemisphere
though the American species may be distinct from the
European and Asian species. The birch polypore can be
found on birch throughout the year.
It is an annual, however, not a perennial.
The spore print is white.