Fomes excavatus

Common Names: Tinder polypore, tinder fungus, false tinder fungus, hoof fungus, tinder conk, ice man fungus
Category: Fungi
Sub-category: Polypores

Recently separated from Fomes fomentarius, which is European. A hard fungal polypore that is shaped like a horse's hoof and traditionally used as tinder and for fabric making. The 5,000-year-old Otzi the Iceman carried four pieces of F. fomentarius. It has a fruit body of between 2 to 18 inches across, 1.2 to 9.8 inches wide and 0.8 to 9.8 inches thick, which attaches broadly to the tree on which the fungus is growing. While typically shaped like a horse's hoof, it can also be more bracket-like with an umbonate attachment to the substrate. The species typically has broad, concentric ridges, with a blunt and rounded margin. The flesh is hard and fibrous, and a cinnamon brown color. The upper surface is tough, bumpy, hard and woody, varying in color, usually a light brown or grey. The margin is whitish during periods of growth. The hard crust is from 0.04 to 0.08 inches thick, and covers the tough flesh. The underside has round pores of a cream color when new, maturing to brown, though they darken when handled. The coloration and size of the fruit body can vary based on where the specimen has grown. Silvery-white, greyish and nearly black specimens have been known.

Typically grows alone, but multiple fruit bodies can sometimes be found upon the same host trunk. The species most typically grows upon hardwoods. In northern areas, it is most common on birch however it is also known to grow upon maple, cherry, hickory, poplar, willow, alder, hornbeam, sycamore, and even occasionally softwoods, such as conifers.

Edible Notes: Not edible, flesh has an acrid taste, woody texture.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.