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Beefsteak Fungus - Fistulina hepatica

Beefsteak Fungus - Fistulina hepatica

Main features

  • Found on living, dead or dying Oak or Sweet Chestnut

  • Has a large cap reaching 25cm wide and 3cm thick

  • Cap starts off pale pink-orange, then turns deep blood red

  • Cap is liver- or kidney-shaped

  • Has white pores that yellow with age

  • No real discernible stem

  • No real smell

  • Flesh resembles marbled meat and oozes a sticky red liquid when squeezed

  • Spores are pale peach

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Beefsteak Fungus - Fistulina hepatica

Edible mushroom - novice

Other common names: Beefsteak Polypore, Ox Tongue Fungus, Beefsteak Mushroom, Liver Fungus, Liver Mushroom


Scientific name meaning: Fistulina is from the Latin Fistulosus, meaning full of pipes. Hepatica is from the Greek Hepatikos, meaning of the liver

Season - when will I find it? Summer to Autumn

Habitat - where will I find it? Growing on living, dying and dead Oak or Sweet Chestnut

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: Beefsteak Fungus grows both parasitically and as a saprobe on living dead or dying Oak or Sweet Chestnut

Cap: A pink-orange colour when young, darkening to a deep blood red with age. It can reach sizes of up to 25cm and a thickness of 3cm. It is kidney- or liver-shaped

Pores: The pore surface is white, yellowing with age

Stem: No real discernible stem

Flesh: Soft and looks remarkable like marbled steak and oozes a red sticky liquid when squeezed

Smell: None

Spore colour: Pale peach

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with the Shaggy Bracket (Inonotus hispidus) but this is hard

Use as a food Beefsteak fungus is very acidic and should be cooked. Most people prefer it to be cooked slowly over a long period of time to reduce its acidity

Use in herbal medicine Some antimicrobial, antiparasitic and anticancer activity has been researched

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards None known by author

Importance to other species A food source of the larvae of many flies. Something to be aware of when harvesting older fruit bodies for consumption

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!

Slice through Beefsteak Fungus - Fistulina hepatica
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