Hexagonal-Pored Polypore

Polyporus alveolaris (formerly Favolus alveolaris)
Edible
Family

Polyporaceae

Description

Orange to tan, fan-shaped bracket; scaly on top; underside with rows of white, six-sided, radially arranged pores. Grows on dead branches of deciduous trees. May–November. Cap semicircular, fan-shaped; orange to tan; texture scaly, becoming smooth. Pores six-sided, honeycombed, usually in radial rows; white, drying yellow. Stalk (if present) short, thick, stubby; white, drying yellow. Spore print white. Spores magnified are cylindrical, smooth, colorless.

Lookalikes: Spring polypore (P. arcularius) is found in the spring and has smaller pores, a central stem, and a hairy cap rim. The pores of the thin-maze flat polypore (Daedaleopsis confragosa) have a more mazelike arrangement.

Size

Cap width: 3⁄8–4 inches.

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Closeup photo of hexagonal-pored polypores showing pattern at bottom of cap
Hexagonal-Pored Polypore (Closeup)

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Photo of hexagonal-pored polypore caps, showing scaly texture orange banding
Hexagonal-Pored Polypore (From Above)

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Photo of underside of hexagonal-pored polypore bracket fungus showing pores
Hexagonal-Pored Polypore (Closeup of Underside)
Habitat and conservation

Grows singly or in groups on dead branches of deciduous trees.

image of Hexagonal-Pored Polypore distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide.

Status

Although this is considered an edible mushroom, it is tough and woody and is not really worth the time it takes to pick and prepare it.

Life cycle

This species lives as a network of cells (mycelium) within the wood of dead or dying branches and logs as a saprobe, digesting and decomposing the wood. When ready to reproduce, the mycelium develops the "bracket"—this is the reproductive structure. In polypores, spores are produced in the pores on the underside and are released to begin new mycelia elsewhere.

Human connections

It is easy to get caught up in hunting mushrooms for eating. But they each possess a beauty in color and form that we can can enjoy. The underside of this species is amazingly beautiful. Make sure to look at it through a lens.

Ecosystem connections

This is one of the many fungus species that live on decaying wood. It and other such saprobic fungi play an important role in breaking down the staggering amount of dead plant material produced each year and returning nutrients to the soil—an unglamorous but vital role in the ecosystem.