Phaeolus Schweinitzii Mushroom

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Non Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest

Phaeolus Schweinitzii Mushroom
Phaeolus Schweinitzii Mushroom, Photo By Bud Logan

Walking in the Salmon River Estuary on Vancouver Island, l noticed a more than average amount of Phaeolus Schweinitzii Mushrooms. These are your classic butt rot fungus, they attack trees through their roots. This fungus causes the roots, butt and about the first 3 to 6 meters of the heart wood to decay. This weakens the root system severely and quite often will cause the tree to blow over during the winter storms. Trees that stay standing are downgraded to less valuable lumber when logged.

The Salmon River estuary is predominately spruce and the spruce here are almost completely covered in burls. I am quite curious if these fungi can be a cause of burls forming on spruce trees. If you have any knowledge of this, please write me about it.

Phaeolus Schweinitzii Mushroom
Phaeolus Schweinitzii Mushroom, Photo By Bud Logan

Phaeolus schweinitzii mushroom will mostly attack conifers, and is usually found scattered near the base of the tree. It has a velvety, brown to olive cap when young, along with a yellowish orange pore surface that bruise’s brown. The pores are angular and fairly large, and the fairly thin, flexible flesh is brown to reddish brown. With age the mushroom becomes all brown with green hue to the pore surface. Older Phaeolus schweinitzii like the ones in the photos are no longer velvety and lack any of the colors they have when young.

 Trees infected usually do no show outward symptoms, so the presence of this fungi is usually not realized until a tree breaks or is knocked over by the wind due to loss in root support. The fruiting bodies often emerge through the soil from decayed roots giving an indication of its presence.  On old stumps, they can sometimes be quite prolific.

This fungi is used to make dyes, depending on the mordant used, you can create dyes of green, yellow, gold or brown. These dyes are very vibrant and long lasting.