Sheep polypore (Albatrellus ovinus) photo and description

Sheep polypore (Albatrellus ovinus)

  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Incertae sedis (undefined)
  • Order: Russulales
  • Family: Albatrellaceae (Albatrell)
  • Genus: Albatrellus (Albatrellus)
  • Species: Albatrellus ovinus (Sheep polypore)
    Other names for the mushroom:
  • Albatrellus sheep

Other names:

  • Albatrellus sheep

  • Sheep mushroom

  • Scutiger ovinus

Sheep polypore (Albatrellus ovinus)Sheep polypore , sheep mushroom ( Albatrellus ovinus ) grows in dry pine and spruce forests. Belongs to the well-known mushroom family Tinder fungus.


The round mushroom cap reaches ten centimeters in diameter. In an old mushroom, it cracks. The skin of the cap of the young mushroom is dry and silky to the touch. The lower surface of the mushroom cap is covered with a fairly dense layer of white-colored tubes, which are easily separated from the mushroom pulp. The surface of the cap is dry, naked, at first smooth, silky in appearance, then slightly scaly, cracking in old age (especially during dry periods). The edge of the cap is thin, sharp, sometimes pubescent, from slightly wavy to lobed.

The tubular layer strongly descends on the stem, the color varies from white or cream to yellow-lemon, greenish-yellow, turns yellow when pressed. The tubules are very short, 1–2 mm long, the pores are angular or rounded, 2–5 per 1 mm.

The leg is short, 3 - 7 cm long, thick (1 - 3 cm thick), strong, smooth, solid, central or eccentric, narrowed towards the base, sometimes slightly bent, from white (cream) to gray or light brown.

Spore powder is white. The spores are almost round or ovoid, transparent, smooth, amyloid, often with large drops of fat inside, 4 - 5 x 3 - 4 microns.

The pulp is dense, damp, brittle, white, yellow or yellowish lemon when dry, often turns yellow when pressed. The taste is pleasant, soft or slightly bitter (especially in old mushrooms). The smell is rather unpleasant, soapy, but according to some literary data, it can be both inexpressive and pleasant, almond or slightly mealy. A drop of FeSO4 stains the flesh gray, KOH stains the flesh a dirty golden yellow color.


Sheep tinder is found infrequently from July to October on the soil under spruces in dry coniferous and mixed forests in clearings, clearings, forest edges, along roads, and also in the mountains. Prefers neutral and alkaline soils, often grows in moss. Forms clusters and groups with closely adhered to each other, sometimes fused legs and edges of caps, fruiting bodies. Single specimens are less common. The species is widespread in the northern temperate zone: it is noted in Europe, Asia, North America, and also in Australia. On the territory of Russia: in the European part, Siberia and the Far East. Moss cover is considered a favorite place for growth. Polypore is a rather large mushroom. It grows singly or in groups, sometimes growing together with its legs.


Sheep tinder fungus in its appearance is similar to merging tinder fungus, which has a more brown color.

Hericium yellow (Hydnum repandum) is distinguished by a hymenophore, consisting of thick light creamy spines, slightly descending on the leg.

Albatrellus confluens (Albatrellus confluens) is colored in orange or yellowish-brown tones, with a bitter or sour taste. Has accrete, usually uncracking caps, grows under various conifers.

Albatrellus reddening (Albatrellus subrubescens) is colored orange, light ocher or light brown, sometimes with a purple tint. The tubular layer is light orange. It grows under pines and spruces and has a bitter taste.

Albatrellus cristatus (Albatrellus cristatus) has a brown-green or olive cap and grows in deciduous forests, most often in beech groves.

Albatrellus lilac (Albatrellus syringae) is found in mixed forests, painted in golden yellow or yellowish brown tones. The hymenophore does not descend on the leg, the pulp is light yellow.


Sheep tinder fungus is a little-known edible mushroom of the fourth category. The mushroom is suitable for consumption only when unripe. Young caps of this mushroom are used fried and boiled, as well as stewed. Before use, the mushroom must be boiled with the preliminary removal of the lower part of its leg. During the boiling process, the mushroom pulp becomes yellowish-green in color. The mushroom is considered especially tasty when fried raw without preliminary boiling and heat treatment. Sheep tinder can be pickled with spices for long-term storage.

The species is listed in the Red Book of the Moscow Region (category 3, a rare species).

Used in medicine: scutigeral, isolated from the fruiting bodies of Ovine Tinder fungus, has an affinity for dopamine D1 receptors in the brain and may act as an oral pain reliever.