Conifer Mazegill (Gloeophyllum sepiarium)
Other names: rusty gilled polypore, yellow-red gill polypore
When to see: late summer and autumn
The conifer mazegill (Gloeophyllum sepiarium) is a saprophytic species of fungus that grows on dead or dying wood of conifer trees. It forms thin, bracket-shaped fruiting bodies that are orange to brown in colour. The fan-shaped cap is about 2-15cm across.
The conifer mazegill has distinctive orangey gills on the underside:
By way of comparison, some other bracket fungi such as the birch polypore (Fomitopsis betulina) do not have gills but, rather, a smooth pore surface:
Conifer mazegill causes a brown rot of the wood it is growing on, breaking down the cellulose and hemicellulose.
It is widely distributed across Europe and North America, being found in woodland/forests, in woodyards, and in urban settings. The ones pictured on this page were all growing on the pine bench in my garden here in Powburn.
The conifer mazegill is generally thought to have no medicinal purposes, although some old studies (>20 years) have suggested it may have anti-tumour properties (Wasser, 2002)
I could be wrong
I’m not an expert at identifying fungi – I’m just a hobbyist. So, I may well be wrong about the identity of mushrooms shown here. If you think I’ve misidentified anything then please feel free to get in touch using the Contact Form and I’ll be pleased to update the information. Thanks!
REMEMBER: Unless you are 100% confident that you know what you are doing, NEVER EAT wild mushrooms – many are poisonous and/or can cause severe illness. Look but don’t eat!
iNaturalist (undated) ‘Conifer Mazegill’ [WWW] https://www.inaturalist.org/guide_taxa/1199598 Accessed 6 October 2023.
Ultimate Mushroom (undated) ‘Gloeophyllum sepiarium’ [WWW] https://ultimate-mushroom.com/inedible/704-gloeophyllum-sepiarium.html Accessed 6 October 2023.
Wasser, S.P. (2002) ‘Medicinal mushrooms as a source of antitumor and immunomodulating polysaccharides’ Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2002) 60:258–274 [WWW] https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/8c23e841/files/uploaded/medicinal_mushrooms.pdf Accessed 6 October 2023.