Most bracket fungi are usually every day ‘all year round’ kind of guys, some persisting even for years. And here’s one of the other common shelf fungi to perpetuate throughout the year, releasing it’s reproductive spores (sporulating) during spring. It can be large, lumpy, but unfortunately inedible which is a shame due to the potential size it can reach.
The Lumpy Bracket (Trametes gibbosa) is found in woodland exclusively growing on dead deciduous wood, of which it favours beech, often solitary but also can be found in medium to large groups (sometimes very large groups – see photographs below). Either way, most of the time it is a striking white colour (sometimes with hues of grey or buff) and very thick and lumpy.
One fruiting body can grow up to 20 cm across and up to 7 or 8 cm thick. It’s typical semicircular shape often displays a distinctive central hump at the back where it meets the wood, especially when larger. The attachment to the wood is very thick and sturdy.
Its surface texture is initially velvet-like due to very fine surface hairs and later, with age, it becomes smooth to the touch.
A key characteristic I always look out for in order to confirm identification for sure, especially while out in the filed, is that the margin (edge of the bracket) is noticeably thick (like an outer ‘lip’ – especially when younger), although it does become thinner with age. It sometimes is a darker shade to the rest of the fungus, but this may be due to environmental conditions etc. And talking of that, you may stumble across many examples that appear green! This is because they are key targets for algae that like to grow among the fine downy hairs on the surface.
The pores on the underside are distinctively elongated and quite large. They are initially white or grey-white and age to a creamy colour.
In large groups (especially when younger) as illustrated in the photograph below, they can appear in stunning floral-like arrangements. I had to double check these were Lumpy Brackets as it’s not a typical site to see. But they were indeed worth a photograph or two. So keep a look out for these beauties, and as I commented on earlier, it’s a shame they’re not edible.
QUICK ID TABLE: LUMPY BRACKET Trametes gibbosa
5-20cm across. Semicircular shape. 1-8cm thick. White, usually buff hues or with green algae markings. Minutely downy, later smooth.
White. Cork like consistency.
PORES / SPORE PRINT
Medium to large. Elongated.
HABITAT / SEASON
On dead deciduous wood, usually beech. All year. Sporulating in spring.
Not edible. Too tough. Bitter and tasteless.
A Lumpy Bracket