Stereum rameale (Pers.) Burt

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Russulales - Family: Stereaceae

Stereum rameale, Wales UK

Distinguished from Stereum hirsutum because it lacks the hairs on its upper surface (although the edges of young crusts are fringed with tiny eyelash-like hairs) this very variable crust forms lines and sometimes tiers on dead twigs and small branches.The fruitbodies are thin, elastic and tough when moist, becoming hard and brittle when dry.

This crust persists all through the year but releases spores only during autumn. It favours Beech and other hardwoods.

Stereum rameale, Pembrokeshire, Wales UK

Distribution

Stereum rameale is common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland. On mainland Europe this wood-rotting crust fungus is found from Scandinavia right down to the Mediterranean region, and its range extends eastwards into Asia's temperate regions too. In North America this crust fungus is very common; mycologists there generally list it under the synonym Stereum complicatum.

Stereum rameale, Cambridgeshire UK

Taxonomic history

This crust fungus was described in 1801 by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon, who gave it the scientific name Thelephora hirsuta d ramealis.

In 1920 American mycologist Edward Angus Burt (1859 - 1939) transferred this species to the genus Stereum, and its scientific name, widely accepted today, became Stereum rameale.

Synonyms of Stereum rameale include Thelephora hirsuta d ramealis Pers., Stereum complicatum Hansen & Knudsen, Stereum ochraceoflavum, and Stereum sulphuratum.

Etymology

Stereum, the generic name, means tough, and crust fungi in this genus certainly can be difficult to tear when you want to take a small sample for investigation. The specific epithet rameale means refers to the fact that this crust fungus commonly appears on branches.

Identification guide

Upper surface of Stereum rameale

Fruitbody

Occurring in patches typically 1 to 3cm across, often merging; edges may be detached and sometimes reflexed from substrate; fertile surface is smooth, ochraceous in the centre, paler towards the wavy margin; upper (when in bracket form).

The specimen seen on the left was found on an oak twig in central Portugal.

 

Fertile lower surface of Stereum rameale

The lower spore-bearing surface is banded yellow-brown; it is downy but not hairy.

 

Spores

Ellipsoidal to cylindrical, smooth, 7-9 x 2-3µm; amyloid.

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

No noticeable odour; tough, tasteless and inedible .

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprobic, on dead hardwood trees and fallen branches, particularly Beech.

Season

All through the year, but shedding spores only in autumn.

Similar species

Stereum subtomentosum has an upper surface that is zoned in various shades of greyish-orange or greyish white; it usually forms reflexed crusts or brackets.

Stereum hirsutum is hairy on its upper surface and often forms reflexed crusts or brackets.

Stereum rameale, Cambriidgeshire, UK

Culinary Notes

These tough and leathery, tasteless fungi are inedible and of no culinary value.

Reference Sources

Pat O'Reilly (2016). Fascinated by Fungi, First Nature Publishing.

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

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 authorities on this species

Roger Phillips (UK) under the synonym Stereum complicatum

Michael Kuo (USA) under the synonym Stereum complicatum

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