Fruiting body perennial; initially knob-like, forming a hard, rounded bracket or hoof-shaped, sessile sporocarp, 5-25 cm broad, 2.5-15 cm thick; upper surface at first yellowish-brown to orange-brown, varnished, in age dull, dark-brown to blackish-brown, concentrically grooved, the margin banded reddish to orange-brown, with a blunt, white edge; lower surface minutely pored, white, bruising pale yellow to buff; flesh woody, yellowish-brown over multiple layers of tubes; pores of fresh specimens frequently exuding droplets of clear liquid.
Spores 5.5-7 x 4.0-5.0 µm, oval, smooth; spore print pale yellow.
Solitary to scattered on conifer logs and stumps, less common on hardwoods; fruiting year round.
Inedible; too woody to be of culinary value.
The woody conks of Fomes pinicola are dark-brown to blackish-brown typically with a varnished, orange-brown marginal band. Ganoderma applanatum, the Artist Conk is similar, though usually not as dark. Its pores bruise brown, as opposed to yellow-buff, lacks a brightly colored marginal band, and has brown rather than pale yellow spores. Fomitopsis pinicola conks may grow for many years, each season adding a new layer of tubes. Counting the tube layers, somewhat analagous to counting tree rings, gives a rough idea of the age of the conk. Fomitopsis pinicola is an important decayer of conifer wood. It is generally described as a saprophyte but in some areas is know to attack living trees.