On beech. 15 October 2014 Hampshire. Photograph copyright Leif Goodwin.
Hoof Fungus, Tinder Fungus
Broadly attached to the substrate, hoof shaped, upper surface layered, grey, underside brown, to about 25 cm wide
Tough, pale brown
Parasitic on living deciduous trees
Spores ellipsoidal, smooth (15-20) x (5-7) µm2
Traditionally the fungus is used as tinder to start a fire. The Ice Man, a 5,000 year old corpse found preserved in snow in the Alps had on his person a prehistoric fire making kit, consisting of flint, iron pyrites, and strands of tinder fungus. He would have struck the pyrites against the flint to generate sparks in order to ignite the tinder fungus.