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Polypores are a group of tough, leathery poroid mushrooms similar to boletes, but typically lacking a distinct stalk. The technical distinction between the two types of mushrooms is that polypores do not have the spore bearing tissue continuous along the entire underside of the mushroom.
Polypores are often found on rotting logs, and are rot-resistant to the extent that they themselves often last long enough to have moss growing on them.
Owing to their texture, edible polypores are rare. However, some have been used in ritual and for utilitarian purposes for ages; the famous Ötzi the Iceman was found carrying two different polypore species. One was notable for its antibacterial properties. The other was likely used for starting fires.
Many polypores are bracket fungi. The polypore growth form exists in many different evolutionary lines of higher basidiomycetes. Although many polypore species are members of the Polyporales, there are many polypores that belong to other groups as well.
Polypores growing on the trunk of a birch tree
- Trametes versicolor.jpg
Colorful Trametes versicolor growing on a fallen hardwood log
Tinder Bracket (Fomes fomentarius)