Beefsteak Mushroom Fistulina hepatica
Beefsteak is a bracket fungus that is found mostly on ancient oak trees and sweet chestnut coppice stumps. When young it is tongue shaped, hence the French common name Langue de Boeuf, and develops into a large flat plate like bracket. The upper surface is dark red. The lower pore surface is initially creamy white but becomes yellow and eventually brown with age.
It bleeds a red blood-like liquid when bruised or cut. When you slice the mushroom it reveals the steak-like flesh which is pink or red marbled with white veins. It becomes dark red when exposed to the air.
Beefsteak is a very slow growing mushroom and probably takes fifty to a hundred years to produce it’s first bracket. The brackets are annual and do not continue to grow after the first frosts of winter. The mushroom can produce several brackets on each tree, in a single year, weighing several kilos each when fully grown. The brackets usually appear from late August and can continue through to the first frosts. Beefsteak is the only soft-fleshed red bracket fungus occurring in Britain.