Tinder fungus (Phaeolus schweinitzii) photo and description

Tinder fungus (Phaeolus schweinitzii)

  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Incertae sedis (undefined)
  • Order: Polyporales
  • Family: Fomitopsidaceae (Fomitopsis)
  • Genus: Phaeolus (Theolus)
  • Species: Phaeolus schweinitzii (Tinder fungus)

Synonyms :

  • Theolus Schweinitz

  • Boletus sistotrema
  • Calodon spadiceus
  • Cladomeris spongia
  • Daedalea suberosa
  • Hydnellum spadiceum
  • Inonotus herbergii
  • Mucronoporus spongia
  • Ochroporus sistotremoides
  • Phaeolus spadiceus
  • Xanthochrous waterlotii

Tinder fungus

Tinder fungus (Phaeolus schweinitzii) is a mushroom of the Gimenochetes family, belongs to the Theolus genus.

External description

The fruit body of the tinder fungus Sinker consists only of the cap, but some specimens may have a small in length and thick leg. Most often, one leg of this species holds several caps on itself.

The cap itself can have different shapes and can be irregularly lobed, semicircular, round, saucer-shaped, funnel-shaped, rounded or flat. Its diameter can reach 30 cm, and its thickness is 4 cm.

The structure of the cap surface is felted, bristly-rough, hairs or light edging are often visible on it. In young fruiting bodies, the cap is painted in dark grayish yellow, sulfur yellow or yellow rusty tones. In mature specimens, it becomes rusty or brownish brown. In old mushrooms, it turns dark brown, up to black.

The surface of the fruiting body is shiny, in young mushrooms it is lighter in color than the cap, gradually the color becomes equal to it.

The hymenal layer is sulfur-yellow or just yellow; in mature specimens it becomes brown. The hymenophore is of a tubular type, and the color of the tubes is similar to the color of the spores. As the fruit bodies ripen, the walls of the tubes become thinner.

Tinder fungus (Phaeolus schweinitzii) has barely noticeable pores, the diameter of which does not exceed 4 mm, and in most cases is 1.5-2 mm. They are round in shape, cell-like, angular. When the mushroom ripens, they become sinuous-patterned, have jagged edges.

The leg is either absent altogether, or it is short and thick, tapers downward and is characterized by a tuberous shape. It is located in the center of the cap, has an edge on its surface. The color at the foot of the tinder fungus is brown.

The mushroom has a spongy and soft flesh that is often flabby. Initially, it is well saturated with moisture, gradually becoming harder, harder and penetrated with fibers. When the fruiting body of the Swiss tinder fungus dries up, it begins to crumble, becomes very fragile, light and fibrous. The color can be orange, yellow, brownish with an admixture of yellow, rusty or brown.

Tinder fungus

Season and habitat of the fungus

Tinder fungus (Phaeolus schweinitzii) is an annual mushroom that grows rapidly. It can grow both singly and in small groups. Fruiting begins in the summer, continuing throughout autumn and winter (differently in different regions of its range).

Most often, Schweinitz tinder fungus is found in the territories of Western Europe, in the European part of Russia, as well as in the West of Siberia. This mushroom prefers to grow in the northern and temperate regions of the planet. It is a parasite because it settles on the roots of coniferous trees and causes them to rot.


The tinder fungus (Phaeolus schweinitzii) is an inedible fungus because it has too hard flesh. In addition, the described species does not have any smell or taste.

Similar types and differences from them

Young fruiting bodies of Swiss tinder fungi are similar to sulfur-yellow tinder fungi. But it is difficult to confuse the described species with other mushrooms, because it has a soft and watery consistency, gutting with the help of viscous droplets of liquid.

Other information about the mushroom

The name of the species was given in honor of Lewis Schweinitz, a scientist-mycologist. Sveinitz tinder fungi contain special pigments that are used in the industrial industry for coloring.