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Beefsteak Fungus

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

This mushroom is best cooked in a creamy recipe, or mixed with other mushrooms due to the slight acidic taste. The wood of trees infected with the beefsteak fungus develops brown rot, which makes the wood richer, darker and of great interest to the furniture building trade.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Beefsteak Fungus (EN), Beefsteak Polypore (US), Ox-Tongue Fungus, Tafod Bustach (CY), Ozorek Dębowy (PL), Májgomba (HU)
Scientific Name Fistulina hepatica
Season Start Aug
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 1-3
Average Cap width (CM) 6-20
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

6-20cm. Tongue to liver shaped semicircular bracket with an inflated edge when young flattening with age. Red or red/pink/brown. Usually moist or sticky.


Off-white to cream tiny round pores or tubules which bruise red/brown.


Concolourous with the cap, lateral, short and thick if present.


Red with white ‘veins’ very much resembling raw meat. Exudes a blood like liquid in drops.


Growing on living or dead oak and sweet chestnut.

Possible Confusion

You are unlikely to confuse this species with anything else.

Spore Print

Pink/pale ochre. Ovate.

Taste / Smell

Slightly acidic or sour getting stronger with age. Good as a meat substitute as it looks like the real thing.



Other Facts

Can be eaten raw in salads where the fruity, acidic taste goes quite well.


13 comments for Beefsteak Fungus

  1. Gemma says:

    The young ones make an excellent very dark brown gravy.
    I tried thinly sliced onions stirred with slivers of this mushroom.
    Splash of red wine and pepper. Delicious.

  2. Mark Wilson says:

    Is there any risk to picking these? How can you identify them? I have seen very similar looking on an oak tree in our local park, but I was nervous to pick and eat incase they were one of the poisonous varieties of mushrooms.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      The beefsteak fungus is a fairly easy to mushroom to ID because of it’s meat looking flesh and ‘blood’ that can drip from the mushroom when squeezed. Never eat any wild food unless you are sure of its ID.

  3. Helena Dennison says:

    I just found a large one at the foot of an oak tree. However it is the most disgusting looking thing I’ve ever seen and nothing would induce me to try it – probably because I’m vegetarian and it looks like a large piece of bloody, dripping liver! Ugh!

  4. V Chapman says:

    Slice and soak in milk or water for half an hour or so to reduce the acidity.

  5. Jeanette Gosling says:

    can it grown on a Rowan tree

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      I haven’t found it growing on Rowan myself but I often find mushrooms growing on trees the books say they shouldn’t.

  6. Linda says:

    I tried cooking it in the electric fan oven 200.
    After cutting the outer fresh off l laid it in olive oil with 5 cloves of crushed garlic over it and a sprinkle of salt and at the last 10 mins sprinkle with a desert spoon of sugar over it .
    Tastes really nice . Add mash and veg if you wish to the meal or recipes you like .

  7. Dl says:

    I soak ’em in milk overnight…or over 3 dsys if I forget.

  8. Lindy van der Meulen says:

    Can any reader of this site tell me why the taste of (correctly dried) boletus edulis is sometime utterly bland? Will that have to do with nearby road traffic as opposed to less visited woodland sites? Last year I stumbled upon a great many good looking ceps. I couldn’t believe my good luck. I harvested a few and dried them in my dehydrator. However I am rather disappointed with the blandness of their taste. Others I have found along footpaths in wooded areas have much more taste. Can anyone shine a light on this for me please? Best regards Mif

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      They might have been the Summer Cep, it is almost identical to the Penny Bun but doesn’t have the strong taste. The cap colour is slightly lighter and the reticulum (net like markings) on the stem is a bit darker but they can be hard to tell apart.

  9. Jason says:

    Is dehydration a good way to preserve a beefsteak mushroom? I have a huge one and couldn’t possibly eat it all at once so wanted to preserve the rest. Thanks!

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      They can be dried but get very tough. Great in soups and stews though.

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