Tinder fungus (Phaeolus schweinitzii) is a representative of the Fomitopsis family, the genus Theolus. This species also has a second, no less well-known name - pheolus seamstress. In most cases, the fruiting body of this specimen is presented in the form of a cap; in some cases, a small stem is observed that holds several caps at once. Below is detailed information about the tinder fungus: a description of its appearance, habitat, edibility and much more.
Description of tinder fungus
In old specimens, the color of the cap becomes dark brown, close to black
The shape of the cap can be different - flat, round, funnel-shaped, semicircular, saucer-shaped. Its thickness is about 4 cm, and its size can reach up to 30 cm in diameter. In young mushrooms, the surface is bristly-rough, pubescent, tomentose; at a more mature age, it becomes naked. At the initial stage of ripening, it is painted in grayish-yellow shades, and over time it acquires a brown or rusty-brown color. Initially, the edges of the cap are slightly lighter than the general background, but after a while they are compared to it.
The hymenophore is tubular, descending, at the initial stage of ripening is yellow, with age it acquires a greenish tint, and in mature mushrooms it becomes dark brown. In young specimens, the tubules are rounded with serrated edges, up to 8 mm long, gradually becoming sinuous and patterned. The leg is either thick and short, tapering downward, or absent altogether. As a rule, it is located in the center, has a brown color and a fluffy surface.
The flesh of the tinder fungus is spongy and soft, in some cases it becomes flabby. In adulthood, tough, hard and fibrous. When the mushroom dries up, it becomes light and very brittle. It can be colored yellow, orange or brown. Has no pronounced taste and smell.
Theolus Schweinitz is an annual mushroom that differs from its relatives by its rapid growth
Where and how it grows
The development of the Schweinitz tinder fungus occurs in the period from June to September, but this specimen is found in autumn and winter, depending on the climatic conditions of a particular region. Most often located in the European part of Russia, Western Europe and Western Siberia. This species prefers to grow in the temperate and northern regions of the planet. As a rule, it lives in coniferous forests and bears fruit on trees, mainly on pines, cedars, larch trees. In addition, it can be found on plums or cherries. It nests on tree roots or near the base of trunks. It can grow singly, but most often mushrooms grow together in groups.
Is the mushroom edible or not
The tinder fungus belongs to the category of inedible mushrooms. Due to the particularly tough pulp, it is not recommended for eating. In addition, this specimen does not contain any nutritional value, since it does not have a pronounced taste and smell.
Important! Tinderpiper is excellent for dyeing wool. For example, a decoction of this ingredient with copper sulfate gives a brown color, with potassium alum - golden yellow. It is worth noting that old copies are not suitable for such purposes.
Doubles and their differences
The seamstress polypore has external similarities with the following gifts of the forest:
- The odorous polypore is an inedible specimen. As a rule, the cap is much smaller in size - no more than 20 cm in diameter, moreover, its color varies from grayish to brown shades. Another distinctive feature is the cushion-like shape of the fruit bodies.
- Pfeifer's polypore - has a hoof shape and white pores. The surface of the fruiting bodies is divided into orange-brown concentric zones. In winter, this mushroom is covered with a waxy yellow film. Not edible.
- The sulfur-yellow tinder fungus belongs to the category of conditionally edible mushrooms, but experts do not recommend eating it. The species in question is similar to its twin only at a young age. A distinctive feature is the bright color of the fruit bodies and the release of watery yellow drops.
- Pink tinder fungus is an inedible mushroom of an unusual color, it lives in coniferous forests. Fruit bodies are perennial, hoof-shaped, less often - tiled. At the initial stage of development, the surface of the cap is pink or lilac, with age it becomes brown or black. A distinctive feature of the tinder fungus is a pink hymenophore.
How does the Schweinitz tinder fungus affect trees
The species in question is a parasite that combines with wood mycelium, causing brown root rot. The tinder fungus can be located not only on wood, but also on the soil, settling not far from it. The process of the disease stretches for several years, since the rot increases by about 1 cm per year. At the initial stage of decay, a strong smell of turpentine is noticeable, and in the final degree of damage, the wood becomes fragile, disintegrating into separate pieces. Rot is distributed along the trunk in spots or stripes, on average it affects a tree up to 2.5 m high.
An infected tree can be distinguished by the presence of parasitic fungi and the inclination of the trunk, which reaches 60 degrees. This phenomenon occurs due to the death of the root system. Also, on a sick tree, you can see cracks in the butt part, where you can see mycelium films of light brown color. When tapped, an infected tree makes a dull sound.
Tinder fungus is a parasitic fungus that is located on coniferous wood, thereby causing colossal harm. Despite the fact that this type is not applicable in the field of cooking, it is used in the industrial industry.