© Kit Scates Barnhart

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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Schizophyllaceae of the PNW
by Danny Miller

Schizophyllum and Fistulina

abundant common uncommon rare - colour codes match my Pictorial Key and are my opinions and probably reflect my bias of living in W WA. Rare species may be locally common in certain places at certain times.

Schizophyllum commune EU - the most common member of this small family, a stemless fan-shaped mushroom usually growing on hardwoods, with a tough, leathery texture and a white fuzzy cap. The critical and unique ID feature is that the gills are each split or grooved lengthwise (the latin literally translates to the "common split gill"). This originally European species is found worldwide, usually with little genetic variation because it can grow practically anywhere - even at least once in the lungs of an immune compromised person, so if so, do not attempt to smell it. This family is in the Agaricales, more closely related to gilled mushrooms than to the polypores of the Polyporales that usually contain the tough species with pores instead of gills. So you can kind of think of Schizophyllum more as a gilled mushroom that evolved to be tough and leathery, instead of a tough polypore that evolved gills (which also has happened).

unsequenced Schizophyllum commune © Noah Siegel

Fistulina hepatica EU - the famous "beefsteak mushroom" that looks like a raw slab of meat on a tree, that even seems to bleed when squeezed, unique for each "tube" of this 'polypore' being individually separated and not fused together. EU sequences vary considerably in ITS by about 2% from each other. I don't know if it is a species complex or a species with unusually variable ITS. It has been found in Oregon, but we need local sequences.

unsequenced Fistulina hepatica © Jonathan Frank (2 images)

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