Neolentinus ponderosus – frequent local fruitings this spring

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I have received several emails about this mushroom and we found several yesterday on a field trip.  Because it’s favorite host is pine, we find it in Central Oregon each mushroom season and the mushroom lasts a long time.  It can grow to be over a foot in diameter! Sometimes called the Giant Sawgill, though I have never heard this.  I learned it as Lentinus ponderosus, but they changed it to Neolentinus because the brown rot it causes in pines is not white like Lentinus species.  With that in mind, it isn’t a good candidate for your compost pile.  As an edible, it is tough and just okay, in my opinion, though some sites online say the young specimens are quite good.  I do know that you need to slice it very very thin. Maybe my mushroom was too old.

Tough, long-lasting mushroom growing on wood.

Tough, long-lasting mushroom growing on wood.

serrated gill edge

Note the jagged and torn look to the gill edge of older specimens. This and the tough stature and growth on wood make Neolentinus a distinctive species.

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