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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Fungi are neither plants nor animals but belong to their own kingdom. They are unable to produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis, as plants do; instead, they acquire nutrients from living or dead plants, animals, or other fungi, as animals do. In many larger fungi (except lichens) the only visible parts are the fruit bodies, which arise from a largely unseen network of threads called 'hyphae'. These hyphae permeate the fungus's food source, which may be soil, leaf litter, rotten wood, dung, and so on, depending on the species, and take up nutrients.  The fruit bodies of beefsteak fungus are present from August to November (3). This parasitic species does not cause the timber of the host to weaken at first, but darkens the wood and produces an attractive pattern known as 'brown oak' (4), which is highly valued in cabinet manufacture and for other decorative uses (5). Beefsteak fungus is responsible for the hollowing of many oak trees (4).
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Description

As the common name suggests, beefsteak fungus is remarkably similar in appearance to raw meat. In the past it was often cooked and eaten as a substitute for meat, and is still sold on French markets today (3). The fruit body is tongue or bracket-shaped, and is reddish-brown to liver colour (3). The flesh is initially whitish yellow, but as the fungus ages, it becomes reddish or pinkish, develops a fleshy soft texture (4), and even gives off a blood-like red juice when cut (3). Spores are released from pores located on the underside of the fruit body. The pores of young specimens are white or yellowish, but as they age they become reddish brown (4). WARNING: many species of fungus are poisonous or contain chemicals that can cause sickness. Never pick and eat any species of fungus that you cannot positively recognise or are unsure about. Some species are deadly poisonous and can cause death within a few hours if swallowed.
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Comprehensive Description

Cette espèce fait l'objet d'un projet de sciences participatives en relation avec l'INPN et mené en partenariat avec Noé Conservation (www.biodiversite-foret.fr).
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General Description

 

Fistulina hepatica or beefsteak fungus or beefsteak polypore as it is commonly called is a common edible fungus in the Great Britain, but is less common in NOrth America. It is found in many parts of the world like North America, Australia and Europe. It is usually found growing on mature living oaks or chestnuts and is known to cause brown heart rot. It is a bracket fungus commonly called as beefsteak fungus or ox tongue fungus due to its striking resemblance to a chunk of fresh meat or liver. It is widely used as a substitute for meat and has been known to be used a lot by the Europeans especially the French. In the natural environment where this fungus is found it is very easy to identify this fungus as it looks like a mass of red meat sticking to a log.
 Fistulina is not considered as a “true” polpore inspite its tubes being packed tightly because the tubes are discrete units like the bristles of a brush. Thus leading the “Polyporologists” to classify and give F. hepatica its own family Fistulinaceae

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Distribution

Fistulina Hepatica has been found in a very wide Geographical scale from Europe to Australia to North America.

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Range

This very common species is widespread in Europe and is also found in eastern North America (3).
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Pileus/Cap: Grows closely up to 30cm across the surface. It usually exhibits a irregular shape, but has a very wide variety of shapes like tongue shape or fan shaped.Some of them show multiple caps. The surface of the mushroom is smooth and at times velvety. It has a lobed margin and colour varies from red to reddish-orange or even liver coloured.

 

Pore Surface:Pore surface is white or pale pink initially but becoming reddish brown as it ages. The tubes are distinct and separate. The tubes are pale red in colour 1-1.5cm long and 2-3 per mm.

 

Spore Print: Pink to Pinkish Brown.

 

Microscopic Features: Spores 3.5-6 × 2.5-4µm.

 

Flesh: The flesh looks like beef or liver. It exudes a blood-red liquid, the fungus smells pleasent.

 

Type of Rot: It causes brown heart rot in oaks and chestnuts.

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Look Alikes

F. hepatica is a very remarkable fungus which has striking looks like a fresh slab or meat and also oozes out a liquid similar to blood when cut or sliced open.
 The young ones are very distinctive and do not become tough like other polypores or bracket fungi.
 F. hepatica is rarely or rather never confused with any other owing to it striking and remarkable appearance and characteristics.

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Ecology

Habitat

Fistulina Hepatica is a saprophytic fungus and at times parasitic on hardwood trees like Oaks and Chestnuts.

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Beefsteak fungus is parasitic and typically grows on the bases of the trunks of broad leaved trees (2), with a preference for oak. It also occurs on sweet chestnut (3).
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Associations

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Fistulina hepatica is saprobic on dead wood of Quercus
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Fistulina hepatica is saprobic on dead wood of Broadleaved trees

Foodplant / parasite
mycelium of Fistulina hepatica parasitises moribund wood of Castanea sativa
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
mycelium of Fistulina hepatica parasitises moribund wood of Fagus
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Fistulina hepatica is saprobic on dead wood of Rosa

Fungus / parasite
colony of Penicillium anamorph of Penicillium aurantiogriseum parasitises bracket of Fistulina hepatica

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Fistulina hepatica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

Common in Britain (3).
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Threats

This species is not threatened at present.
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Management

Conservation

Not relevant.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

This fungus is a popular edible mushroom and is said to taste very much like Red Meat and thus the name. Though many argue that the taste is sour, it still remains a popular edible fungus. It is one of only a handful of wilod mushrooms that can be eaten raw withoutmuch worry.

 

Before the chestnut blight wiped out most of the chestnut trees in eastern North American forests, this fungus was much more common. The fungus seems to require large chestnut trees in order to fruit.

 

Medicinal applications:
 1)As an Antioxidizing agent:
 F. hepatica is one of the very few mushrooms or the only mushroom that has been extensively investigated for its capacity to act as a free-radical scavenger or antioxidant(Ribeiro et al., 2007).

 

2)Antibacterial agent:
 A set of Scientific studies and experiments by an Italian scientist, Coletto has divulged some astonishing results and data that F. hepatica possesses a very potent antibacterial activity against various pathogenic bacteria like Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis (Coletto 1981, 1987/88), and Klebsiella pneumoniae (Coletto, 1992).
 There was another research that claimed that the antibacterial activity of some metabolites of F. hepatica were comparable to Cepahlosporin.

 

The wood that is infected by this fungus is highly coveted by many furniture and cabinet makers. They refer to the wood as “Brown oak” due to the rich colour that the fungus imparts to the heartwood. The colour is due to the strong carbonizing activity of the fungus. The wood is used to make high-end furniture and some architectural master pieces.

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Wikipedia

Fistulina hepatica

"Beefsteak mushroom" redirects here. This name can also refer to the potentially lethal Gyromitra esculenta.
Fistulina hepatica
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
pores on hymenium
cap is flat
hymenium is decurrent
stipe is bare
spore print is pink
ecology is parasitic
edibility: edible

Fistulina hepatica (beefsteak fungus, also known as beefsteak polypore or ox tongue) is an unusual bracket fungus classified in the Agaricales, that is commonly seen in Britain, but can be found in North America, Australia, North Africa, and the rest of Europe. As its name suggests, it looks remarkably similar to a slab of raw meat. It has been used as a meat substitute in the past, and can still be found in some French markets. It has a sour, slightly acidic taste. For eating it must be collected young and it may be tough and need long cooking.

Details[edit]

Beefsteak fungus

The shape resembles a large tongue, and it is rough-surfaced with a reddish-brown colour. The spores are released from minute pores on the creamy-white underside of the fruit body. A younger Fistulina hepatica is a pinkish-red colour, and it darkens with age. It bleeds a dull red juice when cut, with the cut flesh further resembling meat.[1]

The underside of the fruiting body, from which the spores are ejected, is a mass of tubules. The genus name is a diminutive of the Latin word fistula and means "small tube", whilst the species name hepatica means "liver-like", referring to the consistency of the flesh.

The species is fairly common, and can often be found on oaks and sweet chestnut, from August to the end of Autumn, on either living or dead wood. It has a tendency to impart a reddish-brown stain to the living wood of oaks, creating a desirable timber type. In Australia, it can be found growing from wounds on Eucalyptus trees. It causes a brown rot on the trees which it infects.[2]

Relationship to other fungi[edit]

Fistulina is classified in the family Fistulinaceae;[3] molecular studies suggest close relations to the agaric mushroom Schizophyllum in the Schizophyllaceae (in the schizophylloid clade), but in the separate sister fistulinoid clade.[4] Fistulina is a cyphelloid genus, meaning that it is closely related to gilled fungi, but its fertile surface consists of smooth cup-shaped elements instead of gills. The underside (the hymenium) is a mass of tubules which represent a "reduced" form of the ancestral gills.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ N. Arlott, R. Fitter and A. Fitter, Collins Complete Guide: British Wildlife ISBN 1-85927-092-1
  2. ^ Funga Nordica. Copenhagen: Nordsvamp. 2008. p. 40 & 250. .
  3. ^ Bon, Marcel. The Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and North-Western Europe Publisher=Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-39935-X. .
  4. ^ See the following two journal references for molecular evidence of the family relationship: "One hundred and seventeen clades of euagarics". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (Amsterdam: Academic Press (Elsevier)) 23: 357–400. 2002. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00027-1. PMID 12099793. , "Evolution of complex fruiting-body morphologies in homobasidiomycetes". Proceedings of the Royal Society B (London: The Royal Society) 269: 1963–1969. 2002. doi:10.1098/rspb.2002.2123. PMC 1691125. PMID 12396494. 
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