Trichaptum abietinum (Dicks.) Ryvarden - Purplepore Bracket

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

Trichaptum abietinum, Purplepore Bracket

When tinged with purple, the pore surface of this smallish but gregarious annual bracket fungus is very distinctive; however, sometimes the pore surface is brown with hardly a hint of purple. The variable shape - sometimes resupinate but more often sharply reflexed (bracket like) can cause confusion too.

Purplepore Bracket growing on a long-dead pine log, Algarve, Portugal

Distribution

Purplepore Bracket is frequent and widespread in Britain and Ireland as well as most of Europe.

Purplepore Bracket growing on a long-dead pine log, southern England

In parts of North America where this colourful bracket fungus is also fairly common and widespread, it is often referred to as the Violet-pored Bracket.

Taxonomic history

The basionym of this polypore dates from 1793, when it was described scientifically by British naturalist Dickson, who gave it the binomial scientific name

The currently-accepted scientific name Trichaptum abietinum dates from a 1972 publication by the Norwegian mycologist Leif Randulff Ryvarden (b. 1935).

Synonyms of Trichaptum abietinum include Boletus abietinus Dicks., Polyporus abietinus (Dicks.) Fr., Polystictus abietinus (Dicks.) Cooke, Hirschioporus abietinus (Dicks.) Donk, and Trametes abietina (Dicks.) Pilát.

Purplepore Bracket growing on a long-dead pine log, top view (southern England)

Etymology

The generic name Trichaptum means 'with clinging hairs', and the specific epithet abietinum means 'inhabiting fir trees' (trees of the Abies genus), although this wood-rotting bracket will also attack other kinds of conifers and, very occasionally, some hardwoods too..

Identification guide

Closeup of Trichaptum abietum showing the hairy upper surface

Infertile surface

Individual caps grow to between 1 and 5cm in diameter and are typically 1 to 4mm thick. Often growing in tiers and fusing together laterally, the stemless caps are broadly attached to the host tree. The upper surface is lumpy and covered in fine hairs; it is concentrically zoned in shades of grey and light brown tinged with purple, and often stained green with algae especially near to the attachment region. The cap fles is whitish. This fungus also grows in resupinate or semi-resupinate form when on the underside of felled trunks or branches.

Tooth-like pored surface of Trichaptum abietum

Fertile surface

A beautiful bright violet or purple at first, gradually fading to ochraceous with the purple tones restricted mainly to the margin. Pores are spaced at 2 - 4 per mm, becoming increasingly tooth like as the fruitbody matures.

Spores of Trichaptum abietinum

Spores

Oblong-ellipsoidal, sometimes slightly allantoid (sausage-shaped), smooth, 6-7.5 x 2-2.5µm; hyaline, inamyloid.

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Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Not significant

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprobic on dead timber of conifers, particularly firs and spruces; very occasionally reported to occur on dead wood of broadleaf trees. Brackets are annual but regrowth upon old brackets can also occur.

Season

Seen throughout the year.

Similar species

Could be confused with Trametes versicolor when seen from above.

The closely related Trichaptum fuscoviolaceum is very rare in Britain.

Purplepore Bracket growing on a long-dead pine log, PortugalCulinary Notes

Like so many bracket fungi, this polypore is too tough to be considered edible. We have no information about any possible toxin content.

Reference Sources

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

Ellis, M.B. & Ellis, J.P. (1990). Fungi without Gills (Hymenomycetes and Gasteromycetes). Chapman and Hall: London.

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

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

Purplepore Bracket Trichaptum abietinum showing upper and lower surfaces

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)

Gary Emberger (USA)

Michael Wood (USA)

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