Observation 63699: Laricifomes officinalis (Batsch) Kotl. & Pouzar

When: 2011-02-12

Collection location: Bear Valley Visitor Center, Marin Co., California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)

Specimen available

Species Lists


photo by David Rust.

Proposed Names

-50% (7)
Recognized by sight: we called this one Ganoderma “weirdii” at our Fair.
11% (7)
Recognized by sight: it’s a conk all right…
-17% (11)
Recognized by sight
27% (10)
Recognized by sight
-28% (2)
Recognized by sight: current name, according to Index Fungorum.

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
the specimen is at UCB.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2017-03-05 10:12:43 CST (-0600)
specimen yes, culture? not here
By: Tom Bruns (pogon)
2011-12-29 18:34:30 CST (-0600)

I only have the specimen, but it sounds like you have a culture from it?

Lo sequence ID
By: Chris Bailey (Capibara)
2011-12-29 16:25:52 CST (-0600)

Gourmet Mushrooms engaged Aemtek in Hayward to have it sequenced. We cultured the specimen and sent that out for PCR.
It has not yet been deposited to GenBank, but we can do that by your suggestion.
Thanks to everyone involved in allowing our participation. It was a fun study.

Tom, is this an herbarium specimen only or also a culture?

By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-12-29 12:11:21 CST (-0600)

We may well see the fellow who collected this again next weekend at Pt. Reyes for our Fungus Fair; he has been at several so far. I believe that it was collected in Bear Valley, but I will double-check, if at all possible.

Credit really goes to Darvin for his ID tenacity on this one. He knew what it was immediately; I (and apparently you, too!) needed convincing.

I just kept it cause it was a way cool and very dramatic polypore, and a way to engage future Fungus Fairgoers.

Still, nice work everyone.

UC accession number 1861067 and a question
By: Tom Bruns (pogon)
2011-12-29 11:59:14 CST (-0600)

The UC accession number for this will be UC1861067. Thanks to all, and especially Darvin and Debbie for spending time with this specimen. I was willing to pass it off as a really crumby Ganoderma, but I’m certainly convinced now. We will have to keep our eyes out for more of it at Pt. Reyes, because it would be nice to know where in Pt Reyes it comes from and what its host is (Doug-fir would be my guess). I think that is likely to be the furtherest south it has been collected on the coast.

Who determined the sequence, and has it been deposited yet? If not, please go ahead and do it and add the UC accession number to the genbank entry.

now residing…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-12-18 20:43:54 CST (-0600)

at UC Berkeley.

By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2011-05-11 13:31:49 CDT (-0500)

AY515332 and AY515331 are Korean sequences containing the 28S region, partial sequences (all the others except EU854447 and EU854448 are ITS sequences).

If you compare them with Stamets’ sequences EU854447 and EU854448, I think that you’ll find that they all are similar enough to be the same species.

The latter are from the same Stamets collections (F09 and F10), EU854441 and EU854442 that contain ITS1/5.8S/ITS2, which look to me like the same species as this obs. I named them F09B and F10B in the phylogram below.

GenBank Sequences
By: Chris Bailey (cordyceps)
2011-05-11 12:25:22 CDT (-0500)

I found 2 Fomitopsis officinalis citations in GenBank that come from the CBS culture collection. If one attempts to compare the published sequences to THIS conk, they are not at all similar.
To find the CBS culture in GenBank, you can either search AY515332.1 or BLAST the sequence:
tgacctctga cctcaaatca ggtaggatta cccgctgaac ttaagcatat caataagcgg
aggaaaagaa actaacaagg attcccctag taactgcgag tgaagcggga agagctcaaa
tttaaaatct ggtggtctct ggccgtccga gttgtagtct ggagaagtgc tttccgcgct
ggaccgtgta caagtccctt ggaacagggc gtcatagagg gtgagaatcc cgtctttgac
acggactacc agtgctttgt gatgcgctct caaagagtcg agttgtttgg gaatgcagct
caaaatgggt ggtaaattcc atctaaagct aaatattggc gagagaccga tagcgaacaa
gtaccgtgag ggaaagatga aaagcacttt ggaaagagag ttaaacagta cgtgaaattg
ctgaaaggga aacacttgaa gtcagtcgcg tcggccagaa ctcangcctt gctcttttgc
tcggtgcact ttctggttga cgggccagca tcgattttga ccgttggata aaggttgggg
gaatgtggca ccttcgggtg tgtttatagc cctcggtcac atacaacggt tgggatcgag
gaactcagta cgcctttgtg gccggggcct gtcccacgta cacgtactta ggatgctggc
gtaatggctt taaatgaccc gtcttgaaac acggaccaag gagtctaaca tgcctgcgag
tgtttgggtg gaaaacccga gcgcgcaatg aaagtgaaag ttgagatctc tgtcgtggag
agcatcgacg cccggaccag accttctgtg acggatccgc ggtagagcat gtatgttggg
acccgaaaga tggtgaacta tgcctgaata gggtgaagcc agagg
If you BLAST, you’ll find the other CBS strain, too. I’m suspicious of the CBS ID, as it is mostly similar to Antrodia spp. which may not surprise some. Several citations in the BLAST mention that Fomitopsis is Antrodia-like.

There are some Fomitopsis, but no officinalis, including the Stamets isolations.

Pt. Reyes
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-05-11 11:51:44 CDT (-0500)

brought in for the BAMS/Pt. Reyes Fungus Fair 2011.

One final thing
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2011-05-11 11:42:43 CDT (-0500)

that I’m unclear about – where was this actually found? At the visitor’s center?

with Irene’s latest analysis of the DNA evidence…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-05-11 10:52:05 CDT (-0500)

and despite my apparent inability to taste bitter with this specimen, the preponderance of evidence sez this monster conk is indeed a Laricifomes officinalis.

Thanks for taking this one to the mat, Darv; you have fully convinced me.
It pays to be persistant! ;)

I’d like to know
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2011-05-11 01:44:25 CDT (-0500)

where I can find the other sequences that are supposed to be different from Stamets’ and not available at GenBank??

It tasted bitter to me.
By: Glenn Walker (gwalker23)
2011-05-10 16:54:16 CDT (-0500)

I just want to add that while I was culturing this specimen (Thank you!), I couldn’t help taste a little piece. It was from the point of attachment to the tree, where some amber resiny material bubbled out when I inserted a hot boring tool to extract the culture. The resin looked like tree sap, so it is possible I tasted wood and/or fungus. It looked like fungus, grew what looked like a nice culture, and it was bitter as can be. It was probably the most bitter thing I’ve tasted in 10 years or more. It persisted for at least 30 minutes as Darvin explains. That doesn’t rule out the possibility that Stamets’ and the culture we took from this specimen are all some other fungus. The fruiting body was off the tree a month or more before we received it for culture. Interested to compare to the other sequences now.

By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2011-05-10 12:59:10 CDT (-0500)

I tasted the tubes, right where it shows in your third photo down.

By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-05-10 12:56:18 CDT (-0500)

the mis-matches were reported by the person who ran the DNA. That was certainly not me. ;)

By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2011-05-10 12:40:36 CDT (-0500)

I checked the sequences in GenBank, and they all look the same to me…

OK Gang, polypore taste redux on this baby…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-05-10 10:51:02 CDT (-0500)

I tasted the context as opposed to the hymenium this time (where it looked like Darv had plied his knife and or razor). Mild at the tip of my tongue, chewed for several minutes, still mild, then I could almost imagine but mostly not taste a vague hint of maybe a fleeting bit of bitter….the kind of thing you taste when you are trying really hard. David had a similar reaction (actually, he didn’t taste bitter at all). I didn’t tell him what he was tasting and he was understandably a bit suspicious…“here honey, taste this weird powder!” ;)

Absolutely NOT, as described by Arora in MDM, “taste very bitter.”

The context does seem chalky, tho, and the DNA is suggestive altho not a slam dunk…there are conflicting results from the DNA data sent to us; it wasn’t a match to several global collections of officinalis, did match to a couple of Stamet’s collections. Conclusion: whatever Stamets has in the PNW, this looks to be it, too, but not all collections on Genbank that are labeled officinalis actually ARE officinalis.

Clear as mud!

Tom Bruns can have it if he wants it…he’ll need a pretty big drawer, tho! ;)

By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2011-04-02 11:00:34 CDT (-0500)

Is not rare, in some places.

Id have to keep that on display in my Library
By: Charles Seltenright Sr (Shroomin Yooper)
2011-03-30 11:42:56 CDT (-0500)

If its the rare Agarikon I would consider myself lucky and mark it up as a major highlight of my favorite hobby!!I keep other Conks to show people but that would be off the charts!!

the PNW key to polypores claimed that they were trimetic…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-03-30 10:49:50 CDT (-0500)

but your source may be better.

define sclerids, please.

Dimitic hyphal system
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2011-03-30 00:24:45 CDT (-0500)

It does have thick walled skeletal hyphae, as well as thin walled generative hyphae, but they are not diagnostic feature for this species. It lacks the third type, binding hyphae. The defining features, according to Gilbertson are white, chalky, bitter taste, a pileus that is not crustose and sclerids in the context.

OK Darv, I’m leaning towards officinalis…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-03-29 14:41:21 CDT (-0500)

but I would like to confirm your findings.

How are thick-walled branching hyphae diagnostic for this species? Fomitopsis also has trimetic hyphae…


More info
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2011-03-28 00:05:27 CDT (-0500)

More photos and updated info on this conk at:

waiting for Godot…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-03-15 10:57:35 CDT (-0500)

or some other interested Polypore fan to come by and retrieve a study sample.

A month
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2011-03-11 22:27:43 CST (-0600)

It has been four weeks. Any update on the ID of this large critter?

I Once Collected Similar Fungus…
By: Chris Bailey (cordyceps)
2011-03-01 17:44:50 CST (-0600)

…off of bay in Duncan’s Mills, CA. It had that characteristic hoof-like shape that made me think it was Laricifomes officinalis. I cultured it and put it into deep freeze for a few years. In September, I pulled it out and had it sequenced: Ganoderma sp. (closest BLAST matches were NCBI entries: AF255177.1, AF255176.1, AJ608709.1, AF255149.1, AJ006685.1)
I never tasted it.
This one is not staining brown so that is a little confounding, but doesn’t rule out a G. applanatum-australe species complex / allies ID.

By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2011-02-26 11:00:12 CST (-0600)

“Captive polypores for educational purposes. Beats tigers in a Zoo.”

By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-02-26 10:33:17 CST (-0600)

I dunno, 22 years doesn’t seem all that old to me…;)

Tom Bruns expressed a similar sentiment when he saw it.

Apparently one of the reasons that Fomes officinalis is so rare today is that it was over-collected during WWII, shot off of trees with shotguns and sold to provide a quasi-quinine to the overseas troops (that bitter taste, again).

That and all the loss of old-growth, of course…

No putting it back once it’s removed, tho. Surely another will pop thru the bark before too long, if some don’t exist there in smaller form already. The collector found a second large fruit body already lying on the ground nearby.

The fungus lives in the heartwood, after all, and 22 years is nothing in the life of a tree. It did make a great display fungus tho, and will continue to perform this function for many years to come.

Captive polypores for educational purposes. Beats tigers in a Zoo.

Such a beautful old guy…
By: Mushroom Viper
2011-02-25 20:34:53 CST (-0600)

I would have had a hard time picking such a resilient & robust conk.

I believe that the tree was Bay Laurel…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-02-25 10:00:50 CST (-0600)

but I am not certain. The collector is unknown.

It is NOT Agarikon, it is NOT bitter!!!

By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2011-02-25 01:09:22 CST (-0600)

Do you know the type of tree it was on?
Or the exact tree it was collected from?
If it was NOT old growth, it had to have a lot of heartwood rot to make a conk of that size.
I have one in my garage that is also not chalky. The chalky stage come with weathering and old age. Maybe the result of direct sunlight.

I am corresponding with a couple of polypore experts…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-02-23 11:13:48 CST (-0600)

results (or educated opinions) soon.

The consensus is leaning towards Fomitopsis pinicola, however…that Noah. So annoying, so clever…;)

You either can or can’t taste bitter. I can. And this is no bitter!

Fomes officinalis was marketed specifically because of its extremely bitter flavor (to most); it was used as a supposed source of quinine to treat or prevent malaria during WWII, altho in fact there was no quinine present, just an unpleasant quinine flavor. Talk about a placebo effect! ;)

no matter how much we wanna believe…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-02-22 15:40:40 CST (-0600)

and despite a superficial morphological resemblence, this is NOT Agarikon!

It is NOT bitter (I can taste bitter just fine, thank you).

It is not chalky.

It was not found on an old growth tree.

The pores are medium sized and irregular, so it is also not a good match for Fomitopsis pinicola, altho maybe at 22 years of age its pores get bigger and sloppier, kinda like ours do with advancing age? ;)

By: Charles Seltenright Sr (Shroomin Yooper)
2011-02-22 13:50:12 CST (-0600)

Just read an article on that and this does look like it to me too.Paul would be interested I bet as hes searched for them in the PNW before.The article had a link to his search and pics that look very simular.

Looks very like Agarikon …
By: Patrick Harvey (pg_harvey)
2011-02-22 09:45:41 CST (-0600)

but you’re right, the taste might eliminate that.

Perhaps you could send a note & a bit of it to Paul Stamets, see if he
has any chemical test that can establish that or rule it out.

… or, possibly, you can’t taste whatever makes it bitter? Give some
tea to a few others & see what they say.

no spores yet…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-02-21 22:23:07 CST (-0600)

but please show me where it says that a quinine conk can be mild tasting rather than bitter? all descriptions that I could find mention the bitterness.

I think that this is just a 22 year old, dramatically large and visually interesting polypore, name currently unknown.

22 years old!?
By: Matt Sherman (Shermanii)
2011-02-21 14:59:35 CST (-0600)

Wow! If that is correct, that thing is as old as I am!

I wasn’t aware that a fungus could keep growing like that!

Nice new photos
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2011-02-21 14:33:58 CST (-0600)

They show a small attachment area and tubes in layers.
Looks to be about 22 years old.

By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2011-02-21 10:31:35 CST (-0600)

that thing is huge! And it taste’s good? neato

if a bitter taste is diagnostic for officinalis…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-02-21 10:13:11 CST (-0600)

this ain’t it. It was actually kinda pleasant tasting.

I chopped up a bunch of pores (50x, as per Volk) last night and scoped it, but still didn’t see much. There is a slide lurking underneath this massive fructification today, to see if I can get a bit of sporedrop.

When bruised, the whitish pore surface does not immediately turn brown, altho it does appear to brown generally with age.

It is neither pale not chalky in texture.

Back to Ganoderma or something similar, methinks…

Way Cool
By: Charles Seltenright Sr (Shroomin Yooper)
2011-02-21 05:59:57 CST (-0600)
By: Matt Sherman (Shermanii)
2011-02-20 16:11:08 CST (-0600)

That thing is huge!

Yah, we thought that too, Walt.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-02-20 11:17:06 CST (-0600)

I will look a bit more closely at it soon, and post my findings here.

By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2011-02-20 11:12:50 CST (-0600)

Looks a bit like the fungus in your avatar, Laricifomes officinalis

Strange looking
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2011-02-20 11:05:00 CST (-0600)

It’s not a Ganoderma is it? The annual growth rings seem to large for Ganoderma. Need to take a quick look at the spores to verify. Do the tubes bruise brown?

Created: 2011-02-20 10:38:23 CST (-0600)
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