Name: Schizophyllum commune
Citation: Observ. mycol. (Havniae) 1: 103 (1815) / Fries, E.M. 1821. Systema Mycologicum. 1:1-520
Deprecated Synonym(s): Daedalea commune (Fr.) P. Kumm., Merulius communis (Fr.) Spirin & Zmitr., Agaricus alneus L., Merulius alneus (L.) J.F. Gmel., Apus alneus (L.) Gray, Schizophyllum alneus (L.) Kuntze, Agaricus alneus Reichard, Merulius alneus (Reichard) Schumach., Schizophyllum alneum (L.) Kuntze, Agaricus multifidus Batsch, Schizophyllum multifidum (Batsch) Fr., Schizophyllum commune var. multifidum (Batsch) Cooke
Common name: Common Split Gill
This is the “split gill” fungus, as implied by the name, that is perhaps the most widespread fungus in the world. The cap is 1-4.5cm wide and usually a shell or fan shape with a gray to whitish surface. Dry and covered by thin fine hairs. The flesh is thin and leathery. Gill like folds are split lengthwise and many times serrated or torn. Gills produce basidospores, and the reason they appear to be split is because they often dry out and rehydrate many times throughout the growing season. This causes opening and closing of the split gills. The fruiting bodies that are produced each year because it is able to dry and rehydrate. Sporulating fruiting bodies can even be found in the middle of winter. Stalk is usually absent or very short. White spore print. Spores are 5-7.5 × 2-3 micrometers. Fruiting can be solitary or in clusters on decaying hardwoods throughout the world. This fungus uses enzymes to decay the lignin in the wood causing “white rot”. This is because the cellulose left behind on the decaying wood is white. Non-edible for most, but often eaten in Malaysia.
It is known that there is a single widespread species of Schizophyllum commune because worldwide samples of the fungus were able to produce fertile offspring with each other as long as they were different mating types. This was shown by John Raper at Harvard University in the 1950s.
There have been rare cases of this fungus causing a human mycosis in immunodeficient children. Fruiting bodies were actually formed through the soft palate of a child’s mouth in one case.
A very interesting read on this one.
everywhere but Antarctica, the ultimate cool climate, but that is more because of the lack of trees/wood than the cold per se.
It is the most popular market species in Burma, and is also commonly eaten and even cultivated in other tropical areas. The fact that the fruit bodies are so tough is what makes it a good food for the tropics…it doesn’t rot!
One must cook it for a long time in an acid broth to get it tenderized. It is a good source of both carbs and proteins and most certainly fiber, too! Keep chewin’…
We Anglos and North Americans are not so currently dependent upon alternative food sources to have bothered to make this a locally popular edible species. Nonetheless, it IS an edible species, with proper preparation, and is not toxic.
Inhaling spores can create illnesses and sinus infections though, so perhaps best to keep it out of our enclosed kitchens.
As one of the most widespread and adaptable of all of the fungal species, it treats humans as just another food source to be exploited, especially in immuno-compromised individuals.
Sometimes we eat the fungi, and sometimes, they eat us.
Although I’ve read on many websites that Schizopyllum commune is the most widespread basidiomycete, I have never seen it in the United Kingdom. Is this just my lack of observation, or is it not found in wet, cool places?
That having been said, I’ve seen it everywhere I’ve travelled in the tropics.
Created: 2007-01-10 00:03:41 EST (-0500) by Nathan Wilson (nathan)
Last modified: 2015-03-07 04:24:57 EST (-0500) by GALL Alain (GALLA-TAHITI)
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