Trametes suaveolens (L.) Fr. - Fragrant Bracket

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

Trametes suaveolens

Like Trametes gibbosa, the Lumpy Bracket, Trametes suaveolens, is often tinged green by algae. This persistent fungus is seen rather infrequently, mainly on living or dead broad-leaved trees - notably poplar and willow. The Fragrant Bracket is a tough and inedible fungus.

This picture shows Trametes suaveolens growing on a long-dead tree trunk. This bracket fungus often forms tiers of several layers, particularly when growing on the stumps of dead trees.

Trametes suaveolens in two-tiered form

Distribution

A rare find in Britain (a Red Data List species) and Ireland, the Fragrant Bracket occurs also in other temperate regions of mainland Europe. This polypore occurs in parts of Asia, and it is a fairly common find in North America.

Taxonomic history

Originally described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 and given the name Boletus suaveolens, this bracket fungus was transferred to the genus Trametes in 1838 by the great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries, thus establishing its currently-accepted scientific name as Trametes suaveolens. (It was Elias Fries who, in 1835, first circumscribed the genus Trametes.)

Synonyms of Trametes suaveolens include Boletus suaveolens L., Daedalea suaveolens (L.) Pers., Polyporus suaveolens (L.) Fr., Trametes bulliardii Fr., Trametes odora Fr., Trametes

Trametes suaveolens, Hampshire, England

suaveolens f. indora (L.) Pilát, and Haploporus suaveolens (L.) Donk.

Although many other members of the genus Trametes - Trametes versicolor in particular - are more common, Trametes suaveolens is the type species of its genus.

Etymology

Trametes, the genus name, means 'one who is thin', and indeed most brackets in the Trametes genus are thin in cross section, at least on their outer edges.

The specific epithet suaveolens means 'sweet-smelling' - a reference to the strong aniseed (anise) scent given off by fresh young specimens, most noticeably if the pores are rubbed or a bracket is cut or broken. The scent is barely detectable when brackets grow old and dry out.

Identification guide

Trametes suaveolens - a single fruitbody

Description

This bracket is unusual in that it is creamy-white or very light grey throughout, although often tinged with green algae on its finely downy, undulating upper surface.

Brackets are 6 to 12cm across and start off rounded but as they mature they develop a sharper edges at the interface between the fertile (lower) and infertile (upper) surfaces. There is no stem, and the flesh is very tough.

Pores of Trametes suaveolens

Tubes and Pores

The white tubes are 10 to 15mm deep and terminate in roundish or slightly elongated white, buff or pale grey-yellow pores spaced at 0.5 to 1mm. (The pores appear more elongated when the pore surface is angled rather than horizontal, as in some of the specimens shown here.)

The pore surface turns brownish if it is bruised.

 

Spores

Allantoid (sausage-shaped), smooth, 8-12 x 4-4.5; inamyloid.

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Fresh specimens smell strongly of aniseed but have little taste.

Habitat & Ecological role

On living or dead hardwood trees, notably poplars and willows.

Season

All through the year, but shedding spores in autumn.

Occurrence

Rare.

Similar species

Tyromyces chioneus is smaller and grows in tiers on rotting dead wood; its flesh is juicy and its pores are more rounded and much smaller than those of Trametes suaveolens.

Trametes suaveolens, Pembrokeshire, southern England

Culinary Notes

Although not generally reported as seriously poisonous, the Fragrant Bracket is too tough to be considered edible. They are also rare in Britain and Ireland and so gathering them would not be appropriate even if they were edible.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly, 2011

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

Kout, J.; Vlasák, J. Trametes gibbosa (Basidiomycetes, Polyporales) in the USA and Canada: Canadian Journal of Botany, Volume 85, Number 3, March 2007, pp. 342-346(5).

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

Trametes suaveolens, Pembrokeshire, pore surface of specimen found in Wales UK

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.

Above: pore surface of one of the Frarant Bracket Trametes suaveolens specimens shown above.

Other web pages about this species

Mycoquebec Canada)

Gary Emberger (USA)

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