Fistulina hepatica (NL: Biefstukzwam / EN: Beefsteak fungus, Beefsteak polypore, Ox tongue / DE: Eichen-Leberreischling, Leberreischling, Leberpilz, Ochsenzunge / FR: Fistuline hépatique, Foie de bœuf, Langue de bœuf) is an unusual bracket fungus classified in the Agaricales. As its name suggests, it looks remarkably similar to a slab of raw meat. It has been used as a meat substitute in the past, and can still be found in some French markets. It has a sour, slightly acidic taste. For eating it must be collected young and it may be tough and need long cooking.
The shape resembles a large tongue, and it is rough-surfaced with a reddish-brown colour. The spores are released from minute pores on the creamy-white underside of the fruit body. A younger Fistulina hepatica is a pinkish-red colour, and it darkens with age. It bleeds a dull red juice when cut, and the cut flesh further resembles meat. The underside of the fruiting body, from which the spores are ejected, is a mass of tubules. The genus name is a diminutive of the Latin word fistula and means "small tube", whilst the species name hepatica means "liver-like", referring to the consistency of the flesh.
The species is fairly common, and can often be found on oaks and sweet chestnut, from August to the end of Autumn, on either living or dead wood. It has a tendency to impart a reddish-brown stain to the living wood of oaks, creating a desirable timber type.
More images can be seen at my Blog dedicated to fungi: http://diversitasnaturae3.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/fistulina-hepatica/
Image: Schoten (BE) – 07/10/2012
© Johan Dierckx
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All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.
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