The Birch Polypore. Razor Strop Fungus. Birch Bracket. Like many fungi, this one has a range of strange and exotic folk names as well as its scientific name of Piptoporous betulinus. When I was young I knew it as Polyporus betulinus. It’s large, easily recognisable, and growing on this birch tree in South Devon:
Here’s an ancient illustration of it where the pencil title calls it Boletus betulinus. I check the modern scientific name and it’s apparently called Fomitopsis betulina now. I’m sure that won’t be the last change in its scientific name.
It’s the fungus which was carried by Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,300 year old mummy found frozen in the Austrian / Italian Tyrol. Apparently it has medicinal properties. This is a fresh one:
And this is an old one:
Birch Bracket fungus grows in large horizontal brackets across birch trunks. Fungi ‘know’ which way is up and when the birch tree eventually falls the brackets grow along the trunk, rather than across it, like this one:
Here’s another one. I think its distinctive shape means it needs a new folk name: The Cornish Pasty fungus: