Birch Polypore

Birch Polypore ┬ęBob Coyle

Birch polypore

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Scientific name: Piptoporus betulinus
The birch polypore only grows on Birch trees. This leathery bracket fungus has a rounded, coffee-coloured cap that was once used for sharpening tools, hence its other name: the 'Razorstrop fungus'.

Top facts


Cap diameter: 10-20cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The birch polypore is, as its name suggests, a bracket fungus that only grows on Birch trees. It is rounded, smooth and leathery, and white or pale brown. It can be seen all year-round. Fungi belong to their own kingdom and get their nutrients and energy from organic matter, rather than photosynthesis like plants. It is often just the fruiting bodies, or 'mushrooms', that are visible to us, arising from an unseen network of tiny filaments called 'hyphae'. These fruiting bodies produce spores for reproduction, although fungi can also reproduce asexually by fragmentation.

What to look for

The birch polypore is a fleshy fungus that is round or hoof-shaped, with a rounded edge and leathery look. It is a milky coffee-colour on top, and has white pores underneath. It has a strong, fungusy smell.

Where to find


Did you know?

The birch polypore is also known as the 'Razorstrop fungus' because its rubbery, leather-like surface was once used to sharpen knives and razors.