Public Description of Bondarzewia berkeleyi (Fr.) Bondartsev & Singer

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Name: Bondarzewia berkeleyi (Fr.) Bondartsev & Singer
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 Draft For 2008/2009 Eol University Species Pages Initiative By Karl Richte (Private)
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Description status: Unreviewed

Taxonomic Classification:

Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Basidiomycetes
Order: Russulales
Family: Bondarzewiaceae

General Description:

Bondarzewia berkeleyi is a large, centrally stalked poroid mushroom. Commonly known as Berkeley’s polypore, this species usually has multiple fleshy caps that form overlapping clusters and attach to a single stalk. Individual caps are generally convex and bear a decurrent poroid surface. At maturity, the fruiting body can reach 80 cm across (Kuo 2004). This mushroom is annual, arises from a sclerotium, and can be found June-October.

Although outward appearance may lead one to classify it with the polypores, recent molecular evidence places Bondarzewia in the Russulales with the genus Russula!

Diagnostic Description:

Cap: Pileus color ranges from whitish, to yellowish to brown. Individually, caps are convex to flat and can reach 25 cm. Their outline is kidney to fan shaped, and feels leathery to the touch (Kuo 2004). Margin may be wrinkled. Concentric zonation exists to varying degrees. Flesh reaches 3 cm thick and gets tough with age, unbruising. When fresh, a small amount of latex can sometimes be observed when the flesh is broken.

Spore bearing surface: Cream colored, with angular, decurrent pores. Pores are often irregular, 0.5-2 per mm (Bessette 1997). Pore length reaches 1 cm.

Stalk: Rough, sturdy, yellow to brown, can be 10 cm tall and 3-5 cm wide.

Spores: White, ornamented (spines), amyloid and globose to subglobose. They are born on basidia and range from 6-9 ┬Ám across. The spores look much more like those of a Russula than a typical polypore.

Hyphal structure is dimitic skeletal. Hyphae are inamyloid and sphaerocysts are not present (Miller et al. 2006).


Widely distributed throughout the northeastern United States, east of the Rocky mountains.


This species is known to be parasitic on hardwoods, causing severe butt rot and infecting heartwood. It has also been known to be saprophytic on dead hardwoods. Oak is a preferred host (Bessette 1997) along with chestnuts ( Kuo 2004). The fungus causes white rot.

Look Alikes:
B. montana is a saprophyte found on buried conifer wood in the western United States. It is quite similar in appearence to B. berkeleyi, but is generally smaller with darker caps.


B. berkeleyi causes significant butt rot on living hardwoods. The disease cause delignifies the infected area and can lead to tree death. This species is also a known saprophyte. Therefore, it plays a role in breaking down organic plant matter and returning nutrients to the enviornment.

Edible when young, gets tough and unappetizing with age


Bessette, A.E., A.R. Bessette, D.W. Fischer. 1997. Mushrooms of Northwestern North America. 1st Ed. Syracuse University Press. Hong Kong. 385

Kuo, M. (2004, November). Bondarzewia berkeleyi. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site:

Miller, S.L., E. Larson, K.H. Larson, A. Verbeken, J. Nuytinck. 2006. Perspectives in the New Russulales. Mycologia. 98(6). 960-970


page by:
Karl Richters
UW-L Mycology

Correct citation: Bondarzewia berkeleyi (Fr.) Bondartsev & Singer

Description authors: Tom Volk, Karl Richters (Request Authorship Credit)
Description editors: Nathan Wilson, Erlon Bailey