Cinnabar Polypore

Pycnoporus cinnabarinus
Not recommended/not edible
Family

Polyporaceae

Description

Tough, fan-shaped bracket fungus; bright red-orange above and below. Grows on dead deciduous branches, twigs, and wood, mainly oak. Year-round. Cap semicircular, flat; bright cinnabar-red to orange-red; texture finely hairy. Pores angular, irregular; bright cinnabar-red to orange-red, same color as the cap. Stalk not present. Spore print white. Spores magnified are cylindrical, curved, smooth. This species is easy to spot, as both the top and underside are the same color — bright cinnabar-red to orange-red.

Lookalikes: No other small Missouri polypore is bright red-orange on the cap and on the underside.

Size

Cap width: 1–5 inches.

cinnabar_polypore_on_log_4-30-13.jpg

Photo of two cinnabar polypores, bright red-orange bracket fungi, on a log
Cinnabar Polypore
The cinnabar polypore grows on dead deciduous branches, twigs, and wood, mainly oak.

Cinnabar_Polypore_Spring_Creek_Gap_1-24-15.jpg

Photo of a cinnabar polypore bracket fungus growing on dead wood
Cinnabar Polypore
The cinnabar polypore is a bracket fungus that is tough, fan-shaped, and bright red-orange above and below.

cinnabar_polypore_closeup_4-30-13.jpg

Closeup photo of pore surface beneath cap of cinnabar polypore, a bracket fungus
Cinnabar Polypore (Closeup of Pore Surface)
The pores under the cap of the cinnabar polypore are angular and irregular and are bright cinnabar-red to orange-red.

Cinnabar_Polypore_11-13-11.JPG

Photo of cinnabar polypore brackets on a dead branch, top view
Cinnabar Polypore at Clifty Creek CA
The cinnabar polypore is a bracket fungus that is tough, fan-shaped, and bright red-orange above and below.

Cinnabar_Polypore_pores_11-13-11.JPG

Photo of cinnabar polypore brackets showing underside and attachment to dead branch
Cinnabar Polypore at Clifty Creek CA Underside
Note the bright color of this cinnabar polypore, and how it grows from the dead tree branch it is digesting.

Cinnabar_Polypore_ventral_1-24-15.jpg

Photo of a cinnabar polypore viewed from below, showing red pores
Cinnabar Polypore (From Below)
The underside of a cinnabar polypore is the same bright orange-red as the top.
Habitat and conservation

Grows singly or in groups of up to several on dead deciduous branches, twigs, and wood, mainly oak. It discolors the wood red.

image of Cinnabar Polypore Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide.

Status

Not edible.

Life cycle

This species lives within rotting wood as a network of cells (mycelium) that digests and decomposes the dead wood. When ready to reproduce, the mycelium develops the bracket that emerges from the log — this is the reproductive structure. In polypores, spores are produced in the pores beneath and are released to begin new mycelia elsewhere.

Human connections

Mushrooms decorate nature the way wildflowers do, adding to our pleasure on hikes. Like wildflowers, even the humblest of fungi can be strikingly beautiful. Discovering these organisms can bring out our innate capacity for awe and wonder.

Ecosystem connections

This is one of the many fungus species that live on decaying wood. It and many other saprobic fungi play an incredibly important role in breaking down the tough materials wood is made of and returning those nutrients to the soil.