Dryad's Saddle - Cerioporus squamosus

Main features

  • Found on dead, weak or dying broadleaf trees

  • Has a large cap reaching 10 to 60cm

  • Cap cream-coloured and covered in brown scales resembling a bird's wing

  • Cap is shaped like a wide bicycle seat 

  • Has white pores turning cream with age

  • Base of stem is blackened

  • Flesh smells like watermelon/cucumber, or sometimes floury

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Dryad's Saddle - Cerioporus squamosus

Edible mushroom - novice

Other common names: Pheasant Back Mushroom, Hawk Wing Mushroom

 

Scientific name meaning: Cerioporus is dervied from the Greek Kerion, meaning honeycomb - in reference to the formation of this mushroom's pores. Squamosus is from the Latin Squama, meaning scales or with scales, in reference to the scaly appearance of the cap.

Some sources still use the scientific name of Polyporus squamosus. Polyporus means "with many pores"

Season - when will I find it? Spring to Autumn
 

Habitat - where will I find it? On broadleaf trees, especially those that are weak, dying or dead

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: Dryad's Saddle is saprobic, but can sometimes start off being parasitic. It grows on dead, dying or weak broadleaf trees. The fruit bodies often appear to be stacked on top of each other

Cap: Size is between 10 and 60cm, sometimes larger, and shaped like a wide bicycle seat. It is cream coloured  and covered in brown scales giving an appearance similar to a bird's wing

Pores: Dryad's Saddle has pores that are irregularly shaped and angular. They start off white and turn cream in older specimens. the pores run a short way on to the stem

Stem: A short, stout stem of a few centimetres attaches the fruit body to the tree. The stem has much firmer flesh than the rest of the mushroom and blackens near to its base

Smell: Similar to watermelon or cucumber, sometimes slightly flour-like

Spore colour: White

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with The Tuberous Polypore (Polyporous tubereaster), which is smaller and does not have any blackening at the base of its stem. However, this is also edible. 

Use as a food Dryad's Saddle is best harvested when young and fresh and easy to slice with a knife. It should be eaten cooked, however, it does have a floral taste to it. Good seasoning is the best way to overcome this if it is too strong.

Older specimens can be dehydrated and powdered to make a good mushroom stock powder. It is best to remove the pore surface as this does not powder easily with a pestle and mortar.

Do watch for fly larvae when harvesting

Use in herbal medicine None known

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

Hazards None known to the author at time of writing

Importance to other species Provides food for a the larvae of a number of fly species. Worth remembering when harvesting. Younger specimens tend to have less livestock inside!

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!