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Beefsteak Fungus: well done, not rare

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Beefsteak Fungus: well done, not rare

The distinctive colouring reddish-brown of this bracket fungus is the key to its identification as the beefsteak fungus (Fistulina hepatica). It bleeds a dull red juice when cut which is blood-like. The scientific name, hepatica, refers to the liver and people originally thought of this fungus as being more like a liver than a beef steak and thought as it looked like a liver it would heal liver conditions; it does not!

This is a common species, found frequently on oak and sweet chestnut in our local woodlands.  What I found interesting is that it is parasitic and turns the wood of its host a dark drown (back to that blood-like sap I suppose) which makes it in much demand from the furniture industry. The poor tree! If the fungus doesn't get you the carpenter will ... 

It is edible when young but I suspect it is not as tasty as a piece of rump steak - my book says "the flesh is dark and succulent, is mottled in appearance with pink veins that give out a blood like sap. It tastes sourish and has a pleasant smell". Try it if you dare!


 

If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 2 years 7 months ago

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