Hoof Fungus, Plumstead 1/1

Hoof Fungus Fomes fomentarius

The hoof fungus can be found growing as a bracket on the trunks of birch trees, and occasionally on other trees. Its fruiting body is hard and shaped like a horse’s hoof, generally no more that 12 cm wide and often almost as deep. The upper surface is normally silvery grey, but can also be brown or almost black. It can be seen on living trees but eventually kills them and persists on their dead trunks.

Conservation status

Not threatened.

Details

Did you know?
  • In spring a fruiting body of hoof fungus can produce up to 887 million spores in an hour. In dry weather these spores are visible as white powder.
  • Hoof fungus is also known as tinder fungus, false tinder fungus, tinder conk, tinder polypore and ice man fungus.
  • This fungus is not edible but can be used as tinder and clothing.
  • Otzi, a 5,000 year old preserved iceman that was found in a glacier on the border of Austria and Italy, carried three pieces of hoof fungus with him, thought to be for tinder use.
  • The fruiting body can survive for up to 30 years.
  • A 115,000 year-old hoof fungus was found at Shotesham and is displayed in the Castle Museum
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