Birch Polypore


    I recently went on a fungus forage. It was just (for me) an excuse to go for a walk and talk with other humans, but it turned out to be an amazingly useful experience.

    The others in the group turned out to be real enthusiasts, with a couple of experts who I would expect to be very expensive, if they were being hired to do shat they did for free, here.

    One of the things which fascinated me most, was a throwaway remark asking me did I like Birch Polypore tea. I had never heard of it, and the lad extolled all the marvelous health properties, so when I got home, I looked it up.

    It does indeed appear to be a really useful additive to any diet, so I have been collecting it at every opportunity, and I am drinking polypore tea daily, when I have it. I can say that I have noticed a real difference in my health, for the better. I cannot pass a plantation of birch now, without automatically looking for the brackets.

    The way I make the tea is to chop up the polypores as small as I can, put about a cupful into a stock pot, add water and steep it overnight. Next day I bring it to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes, then the pot sits on the stove top, or in the small fireside oven, where I draw off a cup two or three times a day.

    I've also been letting Dolly Dumpling (the cockatoo) drink it with me, as he will demand to share everything I consume, and I think it is helping his health, too. Certainly he is not plucking as much as he used to. If I can scrabble up the money next year, I may take him for blood tests, to see is his aspergillosis is gone, or at least improved. I have high hopes for him.

    If anyone finds birch polypore brackets, and doesn't want to use them for themselves, (unlikely, i know) I'll take em off your hands, will happily pay postage and even something for your trouble!

  • I dry them out anyway if I have a surplus. I cut them up first, though, as they are very tough. The black ones you see are possibly Chaga, which look like burnt wood. You can buy Chaga, I think it's the latest health food fad (which isn't to say they are not awesome, as they are.

    Birch polypores are easy, as they only grow on birch, ones which are ill or dead. I'm thinking of putting a few large bits of fallen birch in my garden, and inoculating them with polypore mycelium, which is the thready part of the fungus, and is actually the main part of it. I may be lucky and have it grow on the decaying wood.

  • Yes they do, VW. In fact it is this that makes them so useful, as birch itself has medicinal properties, which the fungus unlocks, as it were.

    It will be more likely to be on fallen or injured birches, but I cannot see a birch tree now, even out of the corner of my eye while I'm driving, without checking for brackets growing from it. :D

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  • If one is growing then others will follow, though perhaps not this season. Do you have a photo of the underneath?

    I don't know if deer eat them, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they do, though. I know that ganoderma fungus, another medicinal bracket is highly prized by gorillas, who will harvest and eat them. The strongest, most dominant animals will steal them from weaker members of the family, so other species obviously know that they are good and useful.

  • Ta Ma. I have been reduced to drinking what probably is now homeopathic polypore tea. No actual polypore left, it has been diluted so much to try and eke it out, and even that has run out. ?(

  • Birch Polypore are very useful. If you ever cut yourself (a finger for instance) you can cut a thin strip from the underside of the fungus and use it as a plaster for your finger. Or if you have a blister on your foot from bad fitting boots, it can cushion and protect the damaged skin site.

    The Birch Polypore is sometimes called the razor strop and can be used to hone a blade or razor edge.

    It is a very common fungus in mature Birch wood. Birch trees are a pioneer/nursery tree. Having a rather short lifespan. So once the fungus is established it tends to colonise all the mature/aging and damaged birch trees in the woodland.

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  • I knew about this fungus usefulness as a bandaid and its firelighting properties similar to King Alfreds Cakes Daldinia concentrica but id not paid much notice to its potent medical witchery..I shall have to go on a hunt for this Polypore.

    Di occhi belli ne è pieno il mondo,ma di occhi che ti guardano con sincerità e amore, c'è ne sono pochi. :hippy:

  • I did Wulfie. Vanwoman sent me a big boxful and I am now set for at least a couple of months. Hopefully by the time they run out I will have sourced a supply near home.

    Have to say I really notice birch now. Even driving along I spot them in my peripheral vision. Mind you I notice all kinds of fungus now when I’m out and about.

  • Glad you got some, found a load in a wood nearby but mainly out of reach on rotten trees. It would be easy to push them over but I can't as they provide nesting sites for woodpeckers. I did pick three nice fresh specimens and there's a number of small ones which'll be harvestable next year.