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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

06 October, 2010

Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus)

The Birch Polypore is a remarkable fungus because it looks so like its host plant, the Silver Birch (Betula pendula). Whether this is a real attempt at camouflage or whether it inherits certain substances from the tree that makes it look that way I have no idea!

Anywhere in the county, indeed country, where there are Silver Birch trees you will find some with the Polypore fungus. The fungus is named 'betulinus' as it is only ever found on the Silver Birch; 'Betulina'.

It is parasitic and will eventually destroy its host tree but it is believed that it only attacks dying trees and thereby hastens the natural recycling process. Silver Birch is a short lived tree in any event.

The fruiting bodies, as seen above, are visible all year although spores are only released in the autumn. They are not edible.