This section is a quick explanation of some of the identifying characteristics of Fistulina hepatica which falls into the taxonomic family Fistulinaceae.
As with all of these pages, they are NOT intended to be used as a key or diagnostic tool, but a guide of basic identifying characteristics so that you can make informed decisions and easy-access to other, more detailed resources.
Fistulina hepatica can often be seen from a distance, the visage of a hunk of beef growing out the side of a tree. The texture is also similar to raw beef and the fruitbody is somewhat pliable separating it from tough Ganoderma species.
Fistulina hepatica have a white pore surface with an interesting characteristic, the individual 'pores' are actually individual tubes that are not fused to one another.
The "Beefsteak fungus" not to be confused with Gyromitra species that are often also called 'beefsteaks' lives up to its name with a marbled interior that make it look all the more like a slab of beef growing from a tree.
F. hepatica has a unique feature in that it is one of the very few mushrooms that can be eaten raw. In fact most people much prefer them raw to cooked. The flavor is almost that of a meaty cranberry.