Poronidulus conchifer is a polypore fungus. Polypores are mushrooms found mainly on dead or living trees, which play an important part in wood decay, as you can imagine. I first saw the ones pictured somewhere along the path in Explore the Wild. At the time, I didn’t know what they were.
They looked very much like bird’s nest mushrooms, sans eggs, but as I later found out, are not related. They were about 1/4” – 3/8” across. Bird’s nests are typically smaller and grow in dead wood, often in wood mulch.
Polypores are a group of mushrooms that have pores or tubes on their undersides where their spores are released, as opposed to gills in some other mushrooms. Another polypore, a quite a bit larger polypore (Vanderbylia robiniophila), was ID’d by Ranger Martha in an earlier post (below).
I again sought the help of Ranger Martha in identifying this new fungi, given her fungal fecundity, but couldn’t relocate the mushrooms. She was, however, able to ID the beasts by the few photos I took of them.
The mushrooms start out resembling cup mushrooms but later develop the shelf-like structure of most polypores, which is why they’re sometimes called shelf or bracket fungi.
Poronidulus conchifer is listed as inedible.
The name Poronidulus conchifer, as best I can decipher, breaks down into:
Poronidulus = poro – “pore,” nidulus – “small nest” (apparently referencing the bird’s nest mushroom it resembles in its early stages
conchifer = “shell bearing”