Trametes hirsuta (Wulfen) Lloyd - Hairy Bracket

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

Trametes hirsuta, Norway

When very young, Hairy Bracket Trametes hirsuta is easily confused with Downy Bracket Trametes pubescens, but as it matures the Hairy Bracket develops tell-tale concentric ridged colour zones (see below) which clearly distinguish it from its more finely downy relative.

The young fruitbodies in the picture on the left and at the foot of this page were found growing on the trunk of a diseased apple tree in the Dordogne region of France. Trametes hirsuta, France

Distribution

Fairly common and widespread in Britain and Ireland, this polypore is also plentiful in northern and central mainland Europe and is also a frequent find in many parts of the world including China and North America. The pictures on the left and in the identification table are from Norway and are shown by courtesy of Arnor Gullanger.

Taxonomic history

The Hairy Bracket fungus was described scientifically in 1789 by the Austrian mycologist Franz Xavier von Wulfen (1728 - 1805), who gave it the binomial name Polyporus hirsutus. In 1924 American mycologist Curtis Gates Lloyd (1859 - 1928) transferred this species to the genus Trametes, establishing its currently-accepted scientific name Trametes hirsuta.

Synonyms of Trametes hirsuta include Daedalea polyzona, Boletus hirsutus Wulfen, Polyporus hirsutus (Wulfen) Fr., Coriolus hirsutus (Wulfen) Quél., and Polystictus hirsutus (Wulfen) Cooke.

Etymology

Trametes, the genus name, comes from the prefix tram- meaning thin - hence the implication is that fruitbodies of fungi in this genus are thin in section.

The specific epithet hirsuta is derived from the Latin adjective hirsutus, meaning coarsely hairy, and is a reference to the hairy upper surfaces of young brackets of this species.

Identification guide

The hairy cap of a Trametes hirsuta bracket fungus

Upper (infertile) surface

Brackets are usually semicircular and 4-10cm in diameter when fully grown. Initially white or cream with the upper surface covered in silvery hairs, the brackets tend to develop an ochre or brownish region near the margin and are concentrically zoned with narrow yellow-ochre or brown regions and are visibly ridged (see main picture) at maturity.

Adjacent caps sometimes merge and fuse together, and the fruitbodies gradually turn greyer before decaying.

Pores of Trametes hirsuta

Tubes and Pores

The tubes are white and up to 6mm deep, terminating in mainly roundish pores (pictured left) often varying randomly in size and sometimes merging to produce a few angular/elongated pores; typically 3 to 4 pores per mm.

Initially white, the pore surface turns cream and later ochre or pale brown.

 

Spores

Cylindrical, smooth, 5.5-8.5 x 1.6-2.5µm; inamyloid.

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Fresh young brackets have a faint aniseed smell; the taste is bitter.

Habitat & Ecological role

This bracket fungus can be seen on many kinds of hardwoods but most commonly on dead Beech. It is a saprophytic fungus and causes white rot.

Season

These annual bracket fungi appear in late summer and autumn but the brackets may persist through the winter months in sheltered locations and are therefore recorded all year round.

Similar species

Trametes pubescens is an even paler bracket with a finely downy rather than coarsely hairy upper surface.

Trametes hirsuta, southern France

Culinary Notes

Although not generally reported as poisonous, these bracket fungi are too leathery to be considered edible.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly, 2011

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

Mattheck, C., and Weber, K. Manual of Wood Decays in Trees. Arboricultural Association 2003.

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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