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Dryad’s Saddle

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Spring Spring
Summer Summer

The largest capped mushroom in the UK starting early in the year with the season sometimes lasting well into Autumn.


Mushroom Type
Common Names Dryad's Saddle (EN), Pheasant's Back (US), Scaly Polypore (US), Cyfrwy Cennog (EN), Żagwiak Łuskowaty (PL), Pisztricgomba (HU)
Scientific Name Cerioporus squamosus
Synonyms Polyporus squamosus
Season Start May
Season End Aug
Average Mushroom height (CM) 6-10
Average Cap width (CM) 20-40
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


20-40cm but can sometimes be found much larger. A large circular or fan shaped bracket. Ochre to dark yellow with darker, concentric circles of brown scales.


Large angular and irregular off white to ochre pores that run down the stem.


A woody lateral stem up to 8cm long and 5cm wide but tapering towards the darkening to black base.


White, thick and succulent when young becoming leathery then corky as it matures.


Deciduous trees and stumps.

Possible Confusion

It would be difficult to confuse this mushroom with any other.

Spore Print

White. Ellipsoid.

Taste / Smell

A bit like water melon when young, fresh and raw but mushroomy when cooked or dried and powdered for stock.



Other Facts

This is the largest capped mushroom in the UK and can become so heavy it can no longer support itself and will fall from it’s position and be found unattached at the base of it’s host tree. Although this mushroom is edible fresh I prefer it dried and powdered to make a good mushroom stock and as it can be so large a lot of stock can be gathered.


31 comments for Dryad’s Saddle

  1. Noah says:

    Are the spors poisonous?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Noah, the spores of an edible mushroom are not normally poisonous (except the Puffball family whose spores can be dangerous if inhaled).

  2. Rik says:

    Does this occur in the northwest of the UK or is it more southern areas? Thanks.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      I have found them in the Northwest and in Scotland so you should be able to find some later in the year.

  3. amber Gillett says:

    Thankyou for your advice. I found one in the woods today. It was enormous quite possibly bigger than 60cm.

  4. Kelly says:

    Hi, I think I found some of these today growing around the base of a tree, the only difference is the gills, the ones I found appear to have gills underneath, is it the same mushroom? Thanks

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      If they have gills they are not Dryads Saddles.

  5. Brian Ackroyd says:

    Hi, I live in northeast Scotland, 8 years ago we felled a sycamore tree that was too near our back door, in the last two years have been enjoying dryad’s for breakfast with the egg and bacon. Delicious, appear in mid April…

  6. Matthew McSharry says:

    Just found some near Broughton Woods, near Brigg, North Lincolnshire on a family walk out. Thought I’d let any nearby foragers know!

  7. jan says:

    Infound a tree loads of them today. They are not young anymore but not spoiled yet. They were quite dry and rather hard so I left them. As I see them recommended as a powder in stocks, I wondered if these could still have been used.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      As long as they look and smell ok they can be dried and turned into stock.

  8. synchro says:

    hello from wales,

    i’ve just found a sick ash tree with massive dryad’s saddle brackets around the base. (this means whit rot for the tree apparently.)

    i’m going to try drying this for stock. it’s a great idea. thanks.

    also wondering if anyone has any hints for what to do with the fresh mushroom? recipes or experiences?

    have found lots of lovely ‘chicken of the woods’ recently on lovely old oak trees. it’s better than chicken!

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Fresh Dryads Saddle can be used in soups or stews or very young ones might work in a fruit salad as the very young specimens taste like watermelon.(I haven’t tried it with other fruit myself)

  9. Edward Wynne says:

    Found one in north Newcastle upon Tyne. How do you suggest I dry it?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Slice the mushroom into 3-4mm slices and place on a rack if possible in a warm place with some air movement. A fan helps and is probably better than heat

  10. Eric Biggane says:

    Send photos of the cap, stem, underside and where it is growing to [email protected][email protected][email protected]

  11. Eric Biggane says:

    Send photos of the cap, stem, underside and where it is growing to [email protected]

  12. ian says:

    I’ve just found 3 massive ones growing out of a tree took the smaller one home cleaned cut into strips and fried with salt and pepper. delicious and meaty

  13. Helena Mikas says:

    Today discovered many in Berlin Germany growing on a tree near where I live .They have no gills and some are very large like plates ..On other side of the tree smaller specimens are growing Tomorrow will measure the diameter and take photos to show the size ( in a comparative way ) So one can only make stock or pickle such .

  14. philipryanmasonry says:

    Found some st Lawrence Isle of Wight 🙂 going to dry and turn in powder as will be tough as an old boot. How long can I keep the powder for? Thank you. Phil

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      If it is properly dried and sealed in an airtight jar the powder will last for years.

  15. Sharon says:

    Hi, we found these in a small wooded area in North Yorkshire, but when we checked out our Collins Guide it advised not to be eaten, can effect health adversely or is deadly?!

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Some mushrooms that grow on trees can cause a reaction in some people, usually just vomiting and diarrhea.

  16. Claire Dennis says:

    We have some of these growing on our old,sick horse chestnut tree. They are a little old now. Can I dry them in a dehydrator?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      if they are a little old they are best dried and powdered to use as stock.

  17. Fergus Byrne says:

    Is it unusual to find these mushrooms in September? There are fresh growths of Dryad’s saddle on an Ash stump in my garden in Dublin. They are growing large as the mushrooms of May rot and fall away from the stump.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Depending on weather, Dryads Saddles can grow from Spring to late Autumn.

  18. Ed says:

    I went looking for these a few weeks ago (i.e. May 2022) having found something to do with them in The Noma Guide to Fermentation. Making a Shoyu (p349) was a bit too complicated for me, but I was so please to find something that I had been looking for. So, I decided to slice thinly, dry and powder for stock.
    My oven is good to holding a temperature of 45-50C, so I thought that everything was going well. After 15 mins the smell was very bad and after 30 mins we removed them from the oven and evacuated the house due to the smell.
    The pores were open, so not as young as possible. The other one that I found couldn’t be cut by my knife, so I had thought I had harvested a young(ish) one.
    Everything that I have read says that these can be really good, but I guess that it can be a bit hit or miss.

  19. Jaybird says:

    I stumbled upon this a few days ago.. it’s huge! I’m in Ayrshire, Scotland. I have photos I can share if you wish.

  20. Angus Christie says:

    We think we have found a group of these on a stump but are wary because we are unsure of identification. Pity we cant post a photo. We are in Oakham Rutland.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      You can send photos to ID to [email protected]. Please include photos of the stem, cap and gills and where they were growing and any smells detected.

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