Daedaleopsis tricolor  (Bull.) Bondartsev & Singer

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Polyporales - Family: Fomitopsidaceae

Lenzites betulinus - Birch Mazegill

From the top this attractive bracket is easily misidentified. There are so many colour variations in Trametes versicolor that it is almost forgivable to assume that any fan-shaped thin bracket with concentric, many-zoned bands on its upper surface must be yet another Turkeytail. No so! Just as variable in colour as Trametes versicolor is this thin and leathery fan-like bracket, again with many concentric colour bands, but there is one very important feature distinguishing it from Turkeytail... it has gills.

To spot the difference between Lenzites and Trametes, you have to look on the underside of a bracket. Lenzites betulinus has definite gill-like slots rather than pores. They aren’t merely very long mazegill slots either, but structures very similar to the gills of an agaric mushroom. The Birch Mazegill is, nevertheless, a polypore – taxonomically, that is!

Lenzites betulinus - Birch Mazegill, France

Distribution

An uncommon but conspicuous bracket fungus, the Birch Mazegill is found occasionally throughout Britain and Ireland.

Taxonomic history

Originally described in 1792 by pioneering French mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois Bulliard as Agaricus tricolor, this close relative of Blushing Bracket Daedaleopsis confragosa was long cnsidered merely a colour variation of the latter. The currently-accepted scientific name Daedaleopsis tricolor dates from a 1953 publication by Appollinaris Semenovich Bondartsev (1877 – 1968) and Rolf Singer (1906 - 1994).

Synonyms of Daedaleopsis tricolor include Agaricus sepiarius var. tricolor (Bull.) Pers., Daedalea tricolor (Bull.) Fr., Lenzites tricolor (Bull.) Fr., Trametes tricolor (Bull.) Lloyd, and (as recently as 2001) Ischnoderma tricolor (Bull.) Zmitr.

Etymology

The generic name Daedaleopsis means 'having the appearance of Daedalea' (which is the genus in which you will find the Oak Polypore, Daedalea quercina; and the specific epithet tricolor means 'of three colours' - a reference to the colour bands on the upper surfaces of these brackets.

Identification guide

Fertile underside of Lenzites betulinus

Fruitbody

Many-zoned, often reddish fan-like brackets, up to 10 cm across and 1 to 2 cm thick at the point of attachment; usually in tiers.

The gills are white at first, turning brown with age; well-spaced or fairly close; sharp-edged; tough; up to 1 cm deep.

 

Spores

Cylindrical, smooth, 7-11 x 2-3µm; inamyloid.

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Not distinctive

Habitat & Ecological role

On living or dead hardwood trees, particularly willows..

Season

All through the year, but shedding spores in autumn.

Similar species

Trametes versicolor, Turkeytail, has pores rather than gills.

Culinary Notes

This bracket fungus is tough and inedible.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

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