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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, Ox-tongue fungus
Scientific Name Fistulina hepatica
Season Start Aug
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 0
Average Cap width (CM) 20
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

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.


4 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!

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