Mushroom ID?

David W. Fischer -- basidium at
Sun Aug 6 10:07:31 EST 2000

>Berkley's polypore doesn't have mazed-like pores unless there's a variation
>there I haven't read about

The pores of Berkeley's Polypore (Bondarzewia berkelyi)---not the spelling:
Berkeley [3 Es] was the man's name---like most large fleshy polypores, e.g.
Laetiporus, Meripilus, and many others of lesser dimensions, often become
maze-like in age; this is a common developmental character.  It can be a useful
and interesting field character.  On such specimens, if one studies the newest
pores at the cap margins, it is easy to see that they are round (or, in some
cases, more-or-less polygonal).  As the cap grows, the "older" pores nearer the
point of attachment (to the stalk or to the substrate) typically show
progressive tearing of the ends of the tube walls; how maze-like they become
varies depending on environmental factors, e.g. temperature, humidity, wind,
direct sunlight.

On specimens of polypores with typically gill-like hymenia---e.g. Lenzites,
Daedalia, Daedaliopsis, Gloeophyllum---if one uses a loupe to examine the pores
nearest the cap edge, one will see that the "gills" began as true pores.

This is a wonderful example of convergent evolution.  When most of a polypore's
tube-walls' ends split in such a way that the pores become labyrinthine or
"lamellate," the hymeium looks much like that of an agaric, and has the same
spore-producing advantages as a true gilled mushroom---this despite the distant
evolutionary relationships between the different fungi.
David W. Fischer
Coauthor, "Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America" and
   "Mushrooms of Northeastern North America"
E-mail: basidium at

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