Birch polypore (Fomitopsis betulina) photo and description

Birch polypore (Fomitopsis betulina)

  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Incertae sedis (undefined)
  • Order: Polyporales
  • Family: Fomitopsidaceae (Fomitopsis)
  • Genus: Fomitopsis (Fomitopsis)
  • Species: Fomitopsis betulina (Polypore birch)


  • Piptoporus betulinus
  • Piptoporus birch
  • Birch sponge

Birch polypore

Birch tinder fungus , or Fomitopsis betulina , commonly called the birch sponge , is a wood-destroying fungus. Most often it grows singly or in small groups on dead birch wood, as well as on diseased and dying living birch trees. The mycelium, which is located and develops inside the tree trunk, causes a rapidly developing reddish rot in the tree. Wood under the influence of tinder fungus is actively destroyed, turning into dust.

The sedentary fruiting mushroom body has no legs and has a flattened kidney shape. Their diameter can be twenty centimeters.

The fruiting bodies of the fungus are annual. They appear at the end of summer in the last degree of rotting of the tree. Overwintered dead tinder fungi can be observed on birches throughout the year. The mushroom pulp has a well-pronounced mushroom smell.

The fungus is common in all places where a growing birch is observed. It is not found on the rest of the trees.

Young white mushrooms turn yellowish with growth and crack.

Birch tinder fungus is not a usable mushroom due to its bitter and tough pulp. There is evidence that its pulp can be consumed young before it becomes hard.

Drawing charcoal is made from this type of mushroom, and polyporenic acid, which has an anti-inflammatory medicinal effect, is also extracted. Often the pulp of the tinder fungus is used in folk medicine to treat various diseases. Various medicinal decoctions and tinctures with the addition of pure alcohol are prepared from young birch tinder fungi.

This mushroom is well known to all mushroom pickers and lovers of quiet mushroom hunting.