The northern cinnabar polypore occurs in northern areas of America, Asia, and Europe. It
is rare in many areas. Both its common and scientific names refer to its resemblence to the
mineral cinnabar. It is a “white rot” fungus, whose mycelium breaks down dead wood.
Identification: The most obvious identifying feature of this
fungus is its bright orange color. This is a polypore, a tough,
leathery species that inhabits and breaks down fallen wood, especially cherry, beech, and
birch. The fruiting bodies are
roughly circular or kidney-shaped, ¾-5" (2-13 cm) across and up to ¾" (2 cm) thick.
The bright orange color dulls with age. The upper surface has a softish texture reminiscent of suede.
Undersides are also orange, with 2-4 round, angular, or sometimes slot-lie pores per millimeter.
There is no stem. The spore print is white.
Edibility: Not edible.
Medical: Several studies have found that cinnabarinic acid
produced by this fungus has antibacterial properties that may lead to future
Roughly 75 people in North America are poisoned each year by mushrooms, often from eating a poisonous species that resembles an edible species. Though deaths are rare, there is no cure short of a liver transplant for severe poisoning. Don’t eat any mushroom unless you are absolutely certain of its identity! Please don’t trust the identifications on this site. We aren’t mushroom experts and we haven’t focused on safely identifying edible species.
Polyporus cinnabarinus Jacq.:Fr.1821
Trametes cinnabarina (Jacq.:Fr.)Fr.1874
Polystictus cinnabarinus (Jacq.:Fr.)Sacc.1886
Pycnoporus cinnabarinus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 18 Aug 2021.