Phlebia radiata Fr. - Wrinkled Crust

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Polyporales (insertae sedis) - Family: Meruliaceae

Wrinkled Crust, Phlebia radiata

A wood-rotting crust fungus of fallen trunks and branches from deciduous hardwoods and occasionally conifers, this attractive species produces its spores on the wrinkled outer surface. Wrinkled Crust is very common in Britain and Ireland.

Phlebia radiata, immature

The specimens shown above are young and pale; with age the central part of the fruitbody usually turns more intensely orange.

Distribution

The Wrinkled Crust fungus is found throughout Britain and Ireland as well as in many parts of mainland Europe and North America.

Wrinkled Crust, New Forest, England

Taxonomic history

In 1821, when Elias Magnus Fries described this corticioid species he gave it the binomial scientific name Phlebia radiata - the name by which this crust fungus is still known today.

Synonyms of Phlebia radiata include Auricularia aurantiaca Sowerby, Merulius merismoides Fr., and Phlebia aurantiaca (Sowerby) J. Schröt.

Phlebia radiata is the type species of its genus.

Etymology

Phlebia, the genus name, comes from the Greek from Greek phleps, phleb- meaning or pertaining to veins. The specific epithet radiata is a reference to the ray-like wrinkles or folds which spread out from the centre.

Identification guide

Closeup of fertile surface of immature Phlebia radiata

Fruitbody

This is a resupinate fungus (most parts are firmly attached to the substrate but some edges may be free); it grows as circular crusts up to typically 10cm across and 1-3mm thick, but many fruitbodies can merge to form much larger patches. When young, the fruitbodies usually have pink fertile (outer) surfaces, much paler at the margin.

Closeup of fertile surface of Phlebia radiata, mature

As they mature, the fruitbodies become darker, usually turning bright orange but sometimes brown or even with a violaceous tinge; often paler and more fibrous (even appearing somewhat hairy) at the margin. The flesh is soft and jelly like.

There are no pores on the fertile surface, which is irregularly lumpy with wrinkles radiating from the centre like veins.

The basidia are four spored and clamp connections are present. Sparse cystidia in the fertile surface are cylindrical or slightly clavata, 10µm wide and up to 100µm long.

 

Spores

Allantoid (sausage shaped), smooth, 4-5.5 x 1.5-2 µm; inamyloid

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Not significant .

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprobic on dead broadleaf trunks and fallen branches, particularly of oaks; occasionally also on dead conifer timber.

Season

Most often seen in autumn and winter.

Culinary Notes

This fungus is generally regarded as inedible.

Wrinkled Crust, mature specimen

Reference Sources

John Eriksson, Kurt Hjortstam and Leif Ryvarden (1981) The Corticiaceae of North Europe, Volume 6; Fungiflora, Oslo, Norway.

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) from Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

Acknowledgement

This page includes pictures kindly provided by Simon Harding and David Kelly.

Top of page...


Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd edn, hardback

If you have found this information helpful, we are sure you would also find our book Fascinated by Fungi by Pat O'Reilly very useful. Author-signed hardback copies at a special discount price are available here...

Other nature books from First Nature...