Polypores, Brackets & Oysters

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Bracket Fungi

The names "polypore" and "brackets" are often used synonymously. Here, "bracket" refers to mushrooms that are fanlike or shelflike in form, where the underside faces down to disperse spores via pores/tubes (some tooth-like), gills, and gill-like structures (see "Smaller Brackets without Pores"). So not all "brackets" are considered polypores here.  Oyster and oyster-like mushrooms are considered gilled brackets here and thus have their section on this page.

Buchanan, P. K. (1989). New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science, 19(2/3), 294–305.

Smaller Brackets with Pores

Smaller Brackets without Pores (smooth, gilled, miscellaneous)

Tough, Hard, or Large Brackets with Pores 


Oysters and Oyster-like Mushrooms (Gilled)

Oyster and oyster-like mushrooms are shelf or funnel-like, fleshy, have gills, and may or may not have a stalk. The cap might be attached laterally and directly out of the wood, or with decurrent gills running down the stem. They are often in groups, sometimes with stems fused at the base.


Stalked Polypores 

Often "polypore" refers to bracket-shaped mushrooms. Stalked polypores refer to a typical mushroom shape, upright with a distinct cap and stem, with pores on the underside of the cap. Furthermore, these are separated into Boletes and all other stalked polypores. Oyster or oyster-like mushrooms, some of which have stalks, can be found on the "Bracket Fungi" page.


The common name “Bolete” refers to species of mushrooms that are morphologically similar but genetically belong to several genera and families. They are mostly found on the ground (mycorrhizal!) and have distinct caps and stalks like typical gilled mushrooms. The pores on the underside of their caps connect to tubes and form a layer that can be easily peeled off of the cap, unlike other polypores. Additionally, in general, the caps and stems are usually made up of dense, stalky, thick tissue and many have some form of a color change when bruised or cut. 

Charles Peck's New York Report of the State Botanist (1895)


Other Stalked Polypores

This section is a grab bag for polypore mushrooms which have a cap and stalk like typical gilled mushrooms but have pores and are not boletes. A few of them grow on wood like other brackets, and a few grow on the ground.