Panus conchatus
POLYPORE FAMILY (Polyporaceae)

This mushroom is a tough, long-lived fungus that rots wood. It is recognized by, it’s fairly smooth (rather than hairy) cap, and its purplish colors–though the colors eventually fade to brownish or cinnamon brown (Photo A). The stem of Panus conchatus is almost always fairly well developed, but is usually somewhat off-center or lateral. The cap is 2-6 inches wide. The stem is 1-2 inches long and the flesh of this mushroom is white and very tough. The gills run down the stem and are close, often forking and are purplish when fresh and young but later become pale brownish (Photos B and C).

This mushroom grows alone or, more frequently in clusters on decaying hardwood sticks and logs in the summer and fall. In Fontenelle Forest it is uncommon. It has been found only in a few places and its appearance changes as it gets older.

This mushroom has gills but molecular biologists believe it belongs with the polypores, and has evolved with them. The gills apparently came to this mushroom independently from the development of gills in the gilled mushrooms. We have placed it in this group as the presence of gills makes it more recognizable.

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