FunDiS West Coast Rare Fungi Challenge

Prepared by: Roo Vandegrift, Bitty A. Roy, & Joanne Schwartz
This cool polypore is related to Brittlegills and Milkcaps! It is typically found at the bottom of big stumps or at the base of dying conifers in mature or old growth forest in the Pacific Northwest.

It is declining because large stumps and dead trees are becoming less common as a result of centuries of detrimental forestry practices.


This is a large polypore with velvety brown to ochre topsides, often in concentric rings, with creamy undersides.
While it is not exactly stalked, it does have a more upright growth form than many polypores and the clusters can merge together. It often appears to be coming out of the ground instead of from wood if the wood is buried.

What else could it be?

The most likely confused species is Jahnoporus hirtus, which is more grayed, has a more definite stem, and tastes incredibly bitter. Its shape can look a little like a very smooth cluster of Turbinellus floccosus, but is much smoother on top, “woodier”, and has whitish pores instead of ridges.

A very fresh specimen might be mistaken for a browner than usual Chicken-of-the-Woods. Other species that look like Bondarzewia are in the genus Meripilus; though these are rarely found in the West, there are some records. In BC (Victoria) the European Meripilus giganteus was reported with European beech (iNat obs).
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?


More Information

Siegel N & Schwarz C. 2016. Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fungi of Coastal Northern California. Ten Speed Press: pg. 466 (as “Bondarzewia mesenterica”).

Arora D. 1986. Mushrooms Demystified. 2nd Edition. Ten Speed Press: pg. 565–567 (as “Bondarzewia montana”).

Siegel N, Vellinga EC, Schwarz C, Castellano MA, Ikeda D. 2018. A field guide to the rare fungi of California’s National Forests. Bookmobile: pg. 173–175. Accessible at: mykoweb.com/CAF/PDF/Rare_Fungi_of_CA_National_Forests.pdf

Molina R. 2008. Protecting rare, little known, old-growth forest-associated fungi in the Pacific Northwest USA: A case study in fungal conservation. Mycological Research 112: 613-638.

iNaturalist (31 obs.):

Mushroom Observer (53 obs.):

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 what trees or other habitat features are nearby. For example, was the mushroom growing from duff and humus, or from bare soil? 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. State and County Parks generally do not allow mushroom picking, but regulations vary, so make sure to check your destination before you go out. In Oregon, most State and Federal lands allow collecting up to a gallon without a permit, but again, regulations vary, so check ahead of time. 

Don’t forget to look for other mushrooms and fungi while you’re there! Like other Rare Fungi, part of why this mushroom is rare is because it's habitat is becoming increasing rare: Old-growth Forests. 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