top of page

Beefsteak Fungus by Heather

Fistulina hepatica, also known as beefsteak polypore or ox tongue, is a bracket fungus, commonly seen in Britain, but can be found in North America, Australia, North Africa, Southern Africa and the rest of Europe.

The shape as can be seen in the picture, resembles a large tongue. The spores are released from minute pores on the creamy-white underside. Young beefsteaks are a pinkish-red colour, darkening to a deep crimson brown with age. It bleeds a dull red juice when cut and the cut flesh looking like meat, hence its common name.

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 leaves 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.

It has been used as a meat substitute in the past, and can still be found in some French markets. It apparently has a sour, slightly acidic taste. For eating it is best collected when young, even then it may be tough and need long cooking.

Magically this could possibly be used as a blood substitute; for abundance and prosperity; endurance; strength; to keep gossip at bay.

38 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page