Tinder Polypore

By William T. Hathaway

Tinder Polypore

The Tinder Polypore has a year-round season. It is easily spotted, since it is shaped like a horse's hoof. During each favorable growing period a new ring is added to its series of concentric rings. Added rings are larger and beneath the previous rings. Dead deciduous trees often have several tinder polypores growing in close proximity.

Spores of this mushroom probably enter a host tree (a birch in this picture) through wounds and broken limbs. Once inside the tree, the root-like mycelium attacks the heartwood and sapwood of dead or live trees.

As its name implies, it has been used for igniting fires. The softer insides of this woody species was often dried and soaked in a salt peter solution. Chunks of the fungi were then used as “matches,” igniting to sparks struck by flint or steel.