FunDiS West Coast Rare Fungi Challenge

Prepared by: Tiffany Theden, Christin Swearingen, Roo Vandegrift, & Alex Mayberry
Is that a gloved hand grasping a willow stick? If you see weird orange-brown fingers or lobes curving around the smooth bark of a branch, all growing from a central point, you have found Willow Gloves!

Yes, this is a fungus, and when mature is dusted with orange powdery spores.


The species name of Willow Gloves means “lichen-like”, as can be seen in their growth form. This lichen look-alike lays flat, and is fleshy, with irregularly lobed, orange-brown, finger-like projections radiating out from a central point. The entire fungus can be up to 4 inches in diameter, is usually about ¼ inch thick, and clings closely to the bark of the willow it's growing on. When mature, the surface of Willow Gloves is dusted with orange-brown spores.

What else could it be?

Hazel Gloves (Hypocreopsis rhododendri) looks very similar, but grows *surprise surprise* on Rhododendron in the eastern USA. In Europe it is found on hazelnuts. It is also a parasite, but has not been found on the West coast. It is one of the species in the Northeast Rare Fungi Challenge!

Never eat wild mushrooms without a confident identification!

Contact Poison Control if you think you have eaten a poisonous mushroom: 1-800-222-1222

When & Where?

The fruiting body is tough and persists year-round, but will be easier to find in the far Northern latitudes in the warmer summer months. The two finds from Alaska were made in August.



Willow Gloves is considered to be a parasite of the fungus Willow Glue (Hydnoporia tabacina), which is a tobacco-brown crust fungus.
Look for the crust as well!

More Information

iNaturalist (2 obs.):

Mushroom Observer (2 obs.): mushroomobserver.org/name/show_name/25345?q=1ibs4

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. Lost and Found Fungi Datasheet: Hypocreopsis lichenoides. fungi.myspecies.info/sites/fungi.myspecies. info/files/Hypocreopsis%20lichenoides.pdf

Stasinska, M. 2011. Hypocreopsis lichenoides P.Karst. (Fungi, Ascomycetes), new to Poland. Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae. 73. 135-137. doi:10.5586/asbp.2004.019.

What to do if you find it:

Make an observation

The first thing to do is to record your observation. We prefer to use the iNaturalist app for that (visit www.iNaturalist.org to learn more), but you could also upload your observation to Mushroom Observer (visit www.MushroomObserver.org). The QR code to the right will take you to the Fungal Diversity Survey (FunDiS for short) website to explain how to contribute to the project.

The best thing you can do is take lots of photographs and notes. Typically, smartphones will automatically georeference any photos taken, but it is good practice to note your exact location, preferably with GPS coordinates, and be sure to note what trees are nearby, and any other salient features. For example, was the mushroom growing under a hemlock, or a Douglas fir? Did it have a particular smell?

Collect a specimen

If you are in an area where it is allowed and have any necessary permits, we strongly urge you to create a vouchered collection. This means a dried specimen for deposit in a herbarium, where researchers can access it for things like DNA sequencing. If you don’t know how to do this, please see: 


In California, collecting mushrooms is usually allowed in National Forests with a permit. Permits can be obtained at the headquarters of the National Forest you're visiting, and are usually inexpensive or free. However, restrictions vary among the individual National Forests, so make sure to find out the specifics when picking up your permit. In Oregon and Washington, you are typically allowed to collect one gallon without a permit on most public lands; but not all, so be sure to check! In BC, collecting is allowed on Crown land without a permit, but it’s illegal to pick mushrooms in a provincial or national park.

Don’t foget to look for other mushrooms and fungi while you’re there! Since you’ve already got iNaturalist open, why not record your other finds?

Most mushrooms are like fruit: picking an apple from an apple tree doesn’t hurt the tree. In the same way, harvesting mushrooms does not generally hurt the mycelium of the fungus. We do still recommend leaving some mushrooms behind, and not picking perennial mushrooms, like brackets and conks.

Who to contact

If you think you’ve found this mushroom, and you’re not sure about any of the above, such as how to report the find, whether you can collect it, or what to do with it once you have collected it, please contact us! 


About Fungal Diversity Survey

FunDiS is dedicated to a world in which the fungal kingdom is fully documented, understood, appreciated and protected.

Fungal Diversity Survey
10385 Green Meadow Rd
Sebastopol, CA 95472