Near the end of the day, while searching in the woods for browse for the insects in the Butterfly House Insectarium, Insectarium Manager Leon discovered a rather large mushroom growing on a sweetgum tree. He, very excitedly, called me on the radio to invite me to come have a look at it. I swiftly called Ranger Martha to do the same.
I had to run off to take care of other duties, but Ranger Martha, our resident mycologist, met with Leon to inspect the new discovery. Martha later emailed me with a photo and identification of the beast, “…Vanderbylia robiniophila which was known formerly as Perenniporia robiniophila and before that Trametes robiniophila.”
I went back the next morning to get a few photos for myself.
It is indeed a large organism. If the cap were complete it would be about the size of a large pizza, which it superficially looks like, sans tomato sauce. Some say it looks like a large pita or flat bread.
Even with its similarity to pizza, or pita, it’s an inedible mushroom. Vanderbylia robiniophila grows on living deciduous trees. The one pictured here is in on sweetgum. It causes heart rot in the trees it grows from. It, in turn, is fed upon by pleasing fungus beetles (https://bugguide.net/node/view/172371).
The name of the organism, as best I can determine, translates as:
Vanderbylia = Paul Andries van der Byl, South African mycologist.
robiniophila = black locust loving.
Enjoy the nature around you!