Rooting Polypore

Polyporus radicatus

rooting_polypore_09-17-14.jpg

Photo of uprooted rooting polypore mushroom on pavement, showing cap.
The rooting polypore has a reddish-brown, rough, dry cap and is usually solitary.
Lisa K. Suits
Not recommended/not edible
Family

Polyporaceae

Description

Scruffy, tough, yellowish-brown cap with whitish-yellow pores; stalk with a long, black, rootlike filament. Usually single, on the ground near stumps or attached to buried roots. August–October. Cap convex to sunken; yellowish brown; texture tough, dry, scruffy. Pores tiny; angular; whitish to yellowish. Stalk with equal sides, or enlarged toward the base; dingy yellow; texture scruffy to scaly; stalk central, with a long, black, rootlike, underground filament. Spore print color white. Spores magnified are elliptical, smooth, colorless.

Lookalikes: Black-footed polypore (Polyporus badius) is thin and leathery, and its stalk does not have a rootlike filament.

Size

Cap width: 1½–10 inches; stalk length: 2½–6 inches; stalk width: ¼–1 inch.

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Photo of rooting polypore mushroom, held in a hand, showing pores.
Rooting Polypore (Showing Pores)
The “root” of the rooting polypore could easily be missed if you don’t carefully dig this mushroom from the ground.
Habitat and conservation

Usually grows singly, on the ground near stumps or attached to buried roots. This is the only fall Missouri polypore with a stalk that has a long, black, rootlike underground filament. The "root" of this polypore can break off if you pull this mushroom from the ground. When collecting mushrooms for identification, use a knife to carefully dig around the base to find any underground structure that will help identify it.

image of Rooting Polypore distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide.

Status

Not edible.

Life cycle

This species exists most of the time as a network of fungal cells (mycelium) within dead and rotting roots of trees. When ready to reproduce, the mycelium develops a mushroom, which is an aboveground reproductive structure. Spores are produced in the pores beneath the cap and are released to begin new mycelia elsewhere. The mycelium of a mushroom can live for decades.

Human connections

Many inedible fungi have important roles in nature, benefiting humans indirectly by keeping forests productive and healthy. They each also possess a strange beauty in color and form that humans enjoy.

Ecosystem connections

Although it seems to grow from the soil, this is one of the many fungus species that live on decaying wood. It and other such saprobic fungi play an incredibly important role in breaking down the tough materials wood is made of and returning those nutrients to the soil.