Fruitbody resupinate or partly reflexed, adnate but when dried easily detached, mostly orbicular with rounded circumscription, 1-2 cm wide, but often confluent and larger; ab. 1 mm thick; hymenium ceraceous in the living state, brittle when dried, at first yellow or almost orange, then yellow brown, darkening when touched, in the herbarium more lurid brown, sometimes with a tint of olivaceous, folded into an irregular net of angular, composed pores, 1-3 mm wide, in young fruitbodies sometimes radiate in a cantharelloid way; margin distinct white or yellow, narrow, soft, finely velutinous (lens).
Hyphal system monomitic, hyphae thin-walled or in the subculum slightly thick-walled, with clamps and anastomoses; subhymenial hyphae 2-3 µm wide, swelling in KOH, richly branched, some hyphae with peculiar bands or rings at irregular intervals, sometimes also with capitate projections looking like conidium formation but evidently something else; deviating clamps often seen-ampullate or with wide ansiform clamps; subicular hyphae normally 3-5 µm wide, not swelling, provided with a sparse fine-grainy encrustation, with scattered clamps and branches, forming a loose context without interhyphal substance.
Basidia clavate, 15-20 × 4-5 µm, sometimes longer-to 40 µm with a prolonged base, with 4 sterigmata and basal clamp. New basidia as a rule formed not from the basal clamp but opposite to it, forming a characteristic subbasidial hyphae with lateral hooks marking the sites of earlier basidia.
Spores 4-4.5(-5) x 1.3-1.8 µm, cylindrical, straight or with slightly concave adaxial side, or suballantoid, smooth, with thickened walls, yellow in the microscope, cyanophilous, non-amyloid, in Melzer with a slight, reddish-brown tint, spore-print brown.
Habitat. On decayed, decorticate wood, in N. Europe found exclusively on conifers, but reported by Bourdot & Galzin to grow also on deciduous wood. The habitat is as a rule mainly open pine-forests. It was earlier one of the fungi growing on old wooden fences, which were very common in the countryside. The species seems to prefer wood that sometimes becomes warmed up by the sun and is therefore found in sunny places.
Distribution. Rare species but probably spread in conifer forests in the whole of North Europe. In Sweden found from SmÀ¥land in the S. to Hälsingland. À…. Strid did not find it in N. Sweden, nor did Eriksson in Lapland. The Merulius vastator Fr. reported by Chr. Sommerfeldt, Fl. lapp. p. 269, 1826, is said to grow on decayed branches and leaves, which makes it probable that it was not P. aureus. It is widely spread in the N. hemisphere (specimens seen from i.a. Brit. Columbia) in N. Europe found besides in Sweden also in Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Estonia.