Red Belted Polypore

Red Belted Polypore, Vancouver Island, BC
Red Belted Polypore, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

The Red Belted Polypore can be seen growing on the sides of old or dying trees, It is the most common Polypore that you will see on the coast of BC. The top is dark brown-black in color and its outer edge is distinctively marked with a red to  orange band, this marking is quite distinct, and you will not miss it.

This Polypore quite often grows to 30 cm wide, they can sometimes reach almost a meter on the trees of the old-growth forests that still survive on the island. Starting out looking somewhat like an animal’s hoof, it soon grows into a shelf-like shape, almost fan-like.

Probably our most commonly encountered species, the Red Belted Polypore, can be found growing on most species of western conifers. In North America, they attack not just softwood forests but will be found in most hardwood forests as well, they grow on over 100 different types of dead trees. it will also occasionally attack living trees. The red-belted polypore plays a big role in the recycling of the forest’s dead and dying trees and returns the woody fiber back to enrich the soil.

The red belted polypore was used as fire tinder by the natives and settlers soon learned about this quality, the insides are quite dry even in the wettest season, and you can use it to start fires.

Powdered red belted polypore has been used as a tea and is considered to be a medicinal mushroom that is widely used in Asia where it is said to provide nutritional and therapeutic benefits due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor activities. They are quite a fascinating polypore.

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