False Turkey Tail: Stereum hirsutum
Fruiting body annual or short-live perennial, resupinate when young, forming thin, leathery overlapping shelves at maturity, 1-3.5 cm wide and up to 8 cm long when fused with adjacent shelves; upper surface hairy, undulate, lobed, banded orange-brown to yellow-brown, older tissue grey to greyish-brown; lower fertile surface smooth, orange-buff to pale-buff, if zoned, less conspicuously than the upper surface; flesh 0.5-1.0 mm thick, pliant when young, tough in age; stalk absent.
Spores 5.5-7 x 3-3.5 µm, cylindrical, smooth.
Fruiting in tiers and overlapping shelves on dead hardwood stumps, branches, etc., occasionally on conifer wood; fruiting throughout the mushroom season.
Inedible; too tough to be of culinary value.
The small, wavy, leathery shelves of Stereum hirsutum are a common sight in Bay Area woodlands. Fresh fruitings are bright orange-brown to orange-buff, fading in age or dry weather to dull-buff or grey. As the common name suggests, Stereum hirsutum is sometimes confused with Trametes versicolor, the so called "true" Turkey Tail. The latter also has a banded upper surface, but is colored differently, usually a combination of grey, brown or cream, rarely with orange tones. More significantly, it has a pored, not smooth fertile surface. Lenzites betulina, another bracket fungus with a banded upper surface, differs in having a gill-like hymenium.