Steccherinum ochraceum (Pers.) Gray

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

Steccherinum ochraceum

A wood-rotting crust fungus of deciduous hardwoods, this attractive fungus produces its spores on spines. It is uncommon in the UK but much more abundant in southern Europe.

Fallen oak trunks and large branches are particularly good places to try to find this pale ochre or pinkish crust-cum-bracket species, which has been 'parked' in its present position in the taxonomy of fungi - hence the term 'insertae sedis' mentioned in the taxonomic - Classification above.

Steccherinum ochraceum, side view

The specimen shown here is young and pale; with age the central part of the fruitbody usually turns more intensely ochre.

Distribution

An uncommon resupinate tooth fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum is found occasionally in (mainly) southern parts of Britain and Ireland, but it is much more common in central and southern mainland Europe.

The wider distribution of this resupinate fungus includes many parts of North America.

Taxonomic history

In 1799, when Christiaan Hendrik Persoon described this toothed (hydnoid) fungus he gave it the binomial scientific name Hydnum ochraceum - a name which may have already been applied to this species by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin (1748 - 1804).

This fungus species was transferred to the genus Steccherinum in 1821 by British mycologist Samuel Frederick Gray (1766 - 1828).

Synonyms of Steccherinum ochraceum include Hydnum ochraceum Pers., Hydnum denticulatum Pers., Hydnum pudorinum Fr., Acia denticulata (Pers.) P. Karst., and Mycoleptodon ochraceum (Pers.) Pat.

Etymology

Steccherinum, the genus name, was established in 1821 by British mycologist Samuel Frederick Gray. The specific ochraceum is a reference to the ochre (orange-yellow) colour typical of this species.

Identification guide

Closeup of fertile surface of Steccherinum ochraceum

Fruitbody

Occasionally in bracket form but more often resupinate; roughly circular or oval when first forming, but expanding irregularly, often in peninsular form covering large areas; when shelf-like, extending horizontally to typically 1 to 2cm beyond the edge of the substrate; upper surface velvety almost white at edge but elsewhere ochre brown (often rather darker than the specimen shown here); fertile outer (lower) surface covered in short blunt spines; infertile surface white and velvety.

 

Spores

Ellipsoidal, smooth, 3-4.5 x 2-3µm; inamyloid

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Not significant .

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprobic on dead broadleaf trunks and fallen branches, particularly of oaks

Season

Summer and autumn.

Culinary Notes

This fungus is tough and inedible (and quite rare throughout most of Britain and Ireland, so it should not be collected).

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.

Other web pages about this species

Michael Wood (USA)

Michael Kuo (USA)

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