Medicinal Mushrooms: Red-banded Polypore

Photo of Red-banded Polypore

Fomitopsis pinicola is a widespread wood-eating medicinal mushroom who goes by the common names Red-belted Conk and Red-banded Polypore. This species often grows on dead or dying conifers, but can also consume various hardwoods. I found today's feature on a dead Red Maple (Acer rubrum).

Photo of Red-banded Polypore pore surface
A portion of this image was featured in Quiz #129: Natural Mystery.

Red-banded Polypore has a cream-colored pore surface, from which reproductive spores are released. This tough polypore is perennial, often persisting for years. Though not well known as a medicinal, Greg Marley writes that decoctions and tinctures made from this tree mushroom are anti-inflammatory and immune system supporting. For more on the medicinal constituents of Fomitopsis pinicola, consult Marley’s book Mushrooms for Health: Medicinal Secrets of Northeastern Fungi (2009), p. 116-119.

Oh, and one more thing. Anyone in need of a full belly laugh should read the top paragraph of page 579 of Mushrooms Demystified (1986) by David Arora, which addresses the edibility (or rather inedibility) of this species. I'm not kidding, it's hilarious.

2 thoughts on “Medicinal Mushrooms: Red-banded Polypore”

  1. Didn’t even occur to me that might be a mushroom – nice one! I loved Arora’s recipe. Reminds me of my cousin’s prank… anytime he sees the simlar artist’s conk, he scales the tree to write “eat me” on it

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