Polyporus ciliatus Fr. - Fringed Polypore

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

Polyporus ciliatus, Fringed Polypore

Polyporus ciliatus is a polypore that grows on fallen branches of deciduous trees. The pores of these thin-capped polypores cannot be detached from the upper layer of the cap. Tough and inedible, these and most other Polyporus species are not fungi to gather as food; however, the dried caps are sometimes used as table decorations or as inert contributors to pot pouri.

Polyporus ciliatus, Fringed Polypore, underside view


Polyporus ciliatus is fairly common and widespread across most of Britain and Ireland. It occurs also throughout mainland Europe and in many parts of Asia and North America.

Well camouflaged among the fallen leaves, the pale brownish caps can be difficult to spot when growing on fallen branches, but on standing timber they are rather more conspicuous.

Polyporus ciliatus, Fringed Polypore, southern England

Taxonomic history

The Fringed Polypore was described scientifically in 1815 by the great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries.

Synonyms of Polyporus ciliatus include Boletus substrictus Bolton, and Polyporus lepideus Fr.


The generic name Polyporus means 'having many pores', and fungi in this genus do indeed have tubes terminating in pores (usually very small and a lot of them) rather than gills or any other kind of hymenial surface.

The specific epithet ciliatus means 'with fine hairs' and is a reference to the fine bristly hairs on the cap surface, most noticeably near the margin.

Identification guide

Cap of Polyporus ciliatus


Convex at first, flattening with a depressed (umbilicate) centre, the upper surface of the 1.5-12cm diameter cap is very variable in colour but usually some shade of grey-brown or yellowish-brown. Particularly towards the margin, the cap surface is usually covered in tiny bristly hairs; cap thickness is also very variable and ranges between 1 and 5mm. The flesh is white and leathery.


Underside (pores) of Polyporus ciliatus


Colour variable but often pale yellowish brown or tawny-buff, 2-4cm long and 2-7mm in diameter, usually connected centrally to the cap, stems are often curved and slightly thickened at the base.

Tubes and pores

Beneath the cap, the white tubes are packed together at a density of 4-6 per mm; they are between 0.5 and 2mm deep and terminate in whitish pores that turn yellowish from the margin inwards and eventually light tan as they age.

Spores of Polyporus ciliatus


Subcylindrical, often slightly allantoid, smooth, 5-6 x 1.5-2.5µm; inamyloid.

Show larger image

Spore print



Odour faintly mushroomy; taste not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprobic, on dead deciduous hardwood - usually fallen branches - notably Beech and various oaks but also (as in the main picture on this page) alders.


Annual fruitbodies appear in late spring and summer, sometimes persisting through winter and into the following spring.

Similar species

Polyporus brumalis is similar but has a smooth margin and larger pores.

Culinary Notes

The Fringed Polypore fungus is too tough and insubstantial to be of any culinary interest.

Reference Sources

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

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

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

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.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Simon Harding and Arnor Gullanger

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