This week I stumbled across my very first Beef Steak Fungus whilst having a little wander around a local woodland. I was bimbling along bridleway lined with some tall oak trees having a wee nosey amongst the leaf litter that had accumulated beneath them in the hope of finding a Bolette of some sort when I noticed an odd protrusion jutting out from a tree ahead of me. Now I was pretty sure I knew what I was seeing as there is not a lot of fungi that look similar to the liver red, blood dripping Beef Steak Fungus.
I was, and still am, really happy with this find as I have not seen one in the flesh before and although it looked a little sorry for itself just round the other side of this tree there were even more waiting for me to admire. It had been raining that morning and the first one I saw was dripping what looked like blood, you can see the red staining on my finger, but was just the rain washing of some juice from this fungi. The other specimens were larger, with one being partially buried in the soil at the root of the tree, and one being a picture perfect one.
So the Beef Steak Fungus or Ox Tongue, Fistulina Hepatica, grows mainly on Oak and Sweet Chestnut trees, both dead and alive, and basically has no other fungi that look like it so cannot be confused with any other. it is classed as a bracket fungus has pink to deep red flesh which once cut ‘bleeds’ a red blood like liquid similar to when you cut meat, hence the name, and is apparently a nice edible. I was not brave enough to take any for the table but I did return a couple of days later with the plan to take a small one home to try but unfortunately someone had beat me to it and taken the lot.
I was really chuffed with this find and hopefully I will find another at some point but this time I may be brave enough to take a piece for the table, I,ll keep you informed if I do……