Tinder Sponge

25 mins read

Common name: tinder polypore, tinder fungi, touchwood, punk, german tinder, fire-starter mushroom, german felt, hoof fungus, cosmetic surgeon’s agaric, agaricus chirurgorum, amadou, amadouer (france), tsuriganetabe (japan), wundschwamm (germany), esporija pare heridas (italy)- the preponderant references to tinder represent the extensive use of the fungi for fire initiation and fire upkeep.

Scientific name: fomes fomentarius– the latin word fomes means “tinder” or “touchwood” and the latin word fomentarius implies “product to feed a fire”– both the generic and types names highlight the use of the fungus for fires. Formerly called polyporus fomentarius and ungulina fomentarius.

Potpourri: the tinder polypore is among the most readily recognizable of the bracket fungis, which implies it is laterally connected like a bracket to a substrate without a supporting stalk. The shape and percentages are suggestive of a horse’s hoof; the typical name hoof fungi supplies a detailed mnemonic. The tinder polypore is weakly parasitic on broad-leaved trees, notably beech and birch. The pathogenic infection is referred to as white heart-rot: the disintegration (rot) of the main wood of the tree (heart) through intake of the brown lignin so that just the cellulose which is usually light in color (white) remains. The fungus is also saprobic, residing on the dead trunk or remnant stump of the tree that it may or may not have had a hand in killing. The “hoof” portion of the fungi has a crusty grey-brown, zoned upper surface area, the bottom is comprised of a cream-colored surface that is covered with pores that are about a third of a millimeter in size. Spores are produced in prodigious numbers in the spring and summer, as many as 800 million in a single hour according to field testing; extremely few spores are produced in the fall and winter season. [1]

Tinder sponge– a short summary

Tree various fungis utilize the dead wood as a breeding place

In the broadest sense, the group of tree fungi consists of all kinds of fungis that colonize wood and use it as a breeding ground for their own lives, whereby the tree is either already dead or dying. The fungis obtains the nutrients directly from the wood via their mycelial tissue, by deteriorating utilizable substances with particular, fungal enzymes. A procedure frequently described as rot. Roughly one distinguishes between mushrooms the brown rot and mushrooms which produce white rot. Basically all mushrooms are showing the great mycelium tissue, with which the tree is contaminated, before the first fruiting bodies show up. The actual “mushroom” lies in the interior of the tree, it is similar with almost all forest mushrooms, where only the fruiting body above ground can be seen.

Brown rot decomposes the wood compounds

The so-called brown rot can decompose all wood substances other than lignin, while the white rot just breaks down the lignin in particular. The brown rot breaks down essentially the polysaccharides, here particularly the cellulose in the wood structure and hence damages the fiber structure, whereby the wood very first blemished and after that ends up being brittle, it concerns the so-called cube breakage. Up to 80% of the wood is broken down by the fungi, or utilized by them as a nutrient by conversion. The lignin stays unaffected by the brown rot, but the wood dries almost entirely.

Lignin is the glue between the wood cells

The lignin forms the so-called adhesive in between the wood cells, which is especially stable, which is why the white rot is additionally depending on other energy-producing procedures in the decomposition procedure. The order of the decay processes in the wood is rather different, likewise depending upon the type of mushrooms present. Thus, in the existence of the authentic tinder fungus, the strong deterioration of lignin immediately begins. The wood shreds and turns practically white. The staying polysaccharides, here in turn particularly the cellulose, provide for strong swelling of the wood by absorption of water. Dehydration is then no longer possible, the decomposition of the wood is practically 100%.

Numerous tree fungi show their fruiting bodies just during a single growing season, while others reveal similar development rings to the wood, so that they are almost entirely related to wood illness such as woody plants. Development can be puzzled. The tinder fungi is one of the difficult tree fungi, it forms seasonal fruiting bodies, which often reveal quite substantial growth zones at the bottom and at the leading edge. Mainly it is discovered on beech or birch.

Early lighter – the middle layer of the sponge is processed into tinder

The name tinder sponge is based on findings that date back to the neolithic, since the loose-felted middle layer of the fungus, the so-called trama, was processed into tinder. With the discovery of the glacier male “ötzi” also scale remnants were found, which he caused the fire with it. In the west, there were fancy treatments to put the tram in soaking, cooking, tapping, and nitric acid and dry to produce a felt-like mass that right away started to radiance by impinging sparks. A type of early lighter. Even today, the trama (hyphal layer) of the tinder fungus in romania is used for the production of huts or caps. [2]


Cap: shell- or hoof-shaped, typically with narrow bands of gray and gray-brown around the upper surface area. Some are silver-gray or nearly black.

Pore surface: whitish or brownish.

Stem: absent.

Smell: fruity.

Taste: acrid.

Spores: oblong.

Spore color: yellow-colored white.

Edibility: inedible.

Environment: living or dead hardwoods in cool or temperate climates.

Fomes fomentarius looks rather various than a lot of familiar mushrooms. It has no stem or stipe, nor does it have gills, however rather a flat lower surface area covered with pores, which are the openings of densely-packed, spore-producing tubes. The fruiting body is perennial, including a brand-new layer of tubes every year, therefore the flesh is tough and woody. And while many stipeless, pore-bearing fungis have the very same shelf-like shape as a young f. Fomentarius fruiting body, older examples establish a horse-hoof shape that is extremely distinct. It feeds upon either living or dead hardwoods, especially birch and beech, with the fruiting body emerging from the side of the trunk.

Fomes fomentarius carefully resembles another types, phellinus igniarius, to the point that the latter is sometimes called incorrect tinder fungi (confusingly, f. Fomentarius is often also called “false tinder fungi”). P. Igniarius has conventional uses of its own, significantly as a chewing-tobacco additive (a practice now thought about harmful, as it increases the absorption of nicotine), but it must not be puzzled with f. Fomentarius. The most obvious difference in between the two is spore color. [3]

Recognition guide


This sombre fungus usually appears as a solitary specimen however sometimes 2 or more tiers are produced.

On standing lumber this bracket sometimes gets a hold in clefts in the trunks of older trees; nevertheless, the aged specimen shown on the left was discovered on a fallen beech tree.

Annual layers of tubes develop to produce a big hoof-shaped structure 10 to 40cm throughout and as much as 20cm deep at the centre of the attachment line. After the first 3 or 4 years, brackets increase progressively in thickness but do not grown much in size – hence the resulting hoof shape.

The upper infertile surface area is different tones of grey, often with a brownish growing zone towards the external edge. The lower (fertile) surface is white or greyish, turning somewhat brown when bruised.

Pores and tubes

Inside the fruitbody the flesh is tough and pale brown, while the tubes are pale grey-brown at first but become darker brown with age. The pale spore-bearing surface area is visibly softer and has minute pores normally spaced at 2 to 3 per mm.


Oblong-ellipsoidal, smooth, 15-20 x 5-7μm.

Spore print

Extremely pale lemon.


The odour is faintly fruity; the taste acrid.

Habitat & ecological role

Parasitic on broadleaf trees, particularly birch and less typically beech and sycamore, however continuing to grow for lots of months as a saprobe on dead/fallen trunks. I have actually simply when seen hoof fungus on a cork oak, and that was in the algarve region of southern portugal.


Present throughout the year; shedding spores in late spring and summertime.

Similar species

Could be confused with a few of the ganoderma bracket fungis, although they release brown spores; likewise possibly with piptoporus betulinus, the birch polypore, a yearly bracket which has a much smoother upper surface. [4]

Does fomes fomentarius actually have medicinal homes?

There isn’t yet a lot of evidence for the tinder polypore’s efficiency as a remedy for specific ills, but researchers are starting to take an interest in revealing its tricks.

Like the more typically known medical mushrooms, fomes fomentarius consists of both polysaccharides and terpenes. These compounds have actually been found to display fascinating– and sometimes powerful– homes when drawn out from other species and put to the test in lab settings *.

However what about this species?

Here’s a little of what this tree fungus might have the ability to do:.

  1. Combat swelling by preventing production of pro-inflammatory substances.
  2. Minimize discomfort by lowering levels pge2 and cox-2, which are associated with swelling.
  3. Serve as an antimicrobial versus germs and infections.
  4. Supply a prospective treatment for diabetes through a compound called fomentariol.
  5. Serve as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage.

Additional healing prospective depend on the method fomes fomentarius apparently impacts the immune system.

In one study, scientists provided mice differing doses of polysaccharide extracts from the mushroom to check its interactions with immune cells. They discovered evidence of boosted immunity even at the most affordable dosages, including more white blood cell activity and a greater capability to damage pathogens *. [18]

Other usages for tinder fungus

With all these intriguing residential or commercial properties, it’s natural to question if fomes fomentarius is edible. However, there’s a reason you mainly see the tinder fungus described as functional or medical and not a focal point for dishes.

Although it’s not known to be toxic, this particular mushroom isn’t a yummy delicacy, either.

It’s an obstacle to slice, and despite its fruity smell, the taste has been described as extremely undesirable. Much better to stick to more delicious cooking mushrooms, like the familiar button mushroom or the somewhat more unique lion’s hair!

Fomes fomentarius is, nevertheless, helpful for beginning fires. Many people think that’s why otzi the iceman was bring it around: to use it as an actual tinder fungus.

Following his example requires a sharp knife and a little perseverance. Slicing an area off the fruiting body exposes a softer inner product, which can then be “fluffed up” and fired with flint or a match. Add some small, dry kindling, and ta-da! The starts of a campfire. [5]


betulinic acid in this medical mushroom has shown strong antiviral homes. It is so potent that it is now being looked into as a potential antiviral treatment for hiv. This mushroom includes the substance piptamine. This compound has a really potent antibacterial activity. It can eliminate a number of bacterial strains, such as e. Coli. Ancient texts likewise exposed that this fungi has been utilized as a treatment for tuberculosis in 200 advertisement.

Stops bleeding

Even from ancient times, fomes fomentarius has actually long been used as a natural material to stop bleeding. Surgeons utilize it during surgeries to stop bleeding. It is extremely absorbent and easily keeps in location, which significantly assists in wound care. Hippocrates even explained this mushroom in fifth bc as being used for the cauterization of wounds. This earned the medical mushroom the name “cosmetic surgeon’s agaric”.


The chinese usage tinder conk mushroom as part of the treatment for different kinds of diseases in traditional chinese medicine. They use it for the treatment of throat disease, illness of the uterus, and stomach illness. Its basic encouraging action on the body immune system aids in boosting the body’s natural anti-disease capability. It stimulates the various immune cells and procedures that discourage disease and tumor cell expansion.


  1. Cauterization substance for injuries (explained by hippocrates in the 5th century bc).
  2. A styptic to stop bleeding – utilized by surgeons barbers and dentists (in some cases called the “agaric of the chirurges” or “surgeon’s agaric”.
  3. Remedy against dysmenorrhea, piles, and bladder disorders in europe. Diuretic, laxatives, and nerve tonic in indic folk medicine.
  4. Treating cancers of the esophagus, stomach, and uterus in china.
  5. Utilized in cigarette smoking rituals in western sibera and hokkaido, burning the fruiting bodies overnight to banish evil spirits.
  6. Making clothing such as caps and chest protectors (after pounding).
  7. As pincushions to prevent pins and needles from rusting.
  8. Utilized by entomologists to mount their delicate insects.
  9. Utilized in siberia as snuff or mixed with tobacco.
  10. Sold for use in fly fishing as “amadou,” which is used to soak up excess water from flies.
  11. Using contemporary approaches, the tinder polypore has been revealed to contain iodine, fomentariol, and other compounds that are active versus germs and tumors. [6]

The easy method to utilize fomes fomentarius as tinder

There are various procedures for preparing or improving fomes fomentarius as tinder, including producing amadou. Tinder produced in this way will capture and hold the little, reasonably cold triggers produced by striking together flint and iron pyrites.

In concentrating on these more involved procedures, it is possible to ignore the easiest and simplest preparation of fomes fomentarius as tinder. This can be done rapidly in the field and the tinder produced can be used right away.

The bracket is the fruiting body of the fungus and its outside layer is hard, like the crust of a stale, dried-out loaf of bread. Observing the underside of the fungi you will see lots of pores, which are the ends of the spore tubes.

Inside the bracket, in between the spore tubes and the external layer is the trama layer or “flesh” of the fungus. The trama layer of fomes fomentarius is rather thick, company in consistency and has a cinnamon colour. Within the trama you will see development rings. You can see clearly see the structure of the bracket by slicing through it.

Whichever procedure you are utilizing to produce tinder from fomes fomentarius, it is the trama you require to start with. If you slice the trama thinly, you will discover that it is somewhat fibrous. This is most convenient to see at the end of your piece.

For our simple technique of producing tinder from fomes fomentarius we will use the fibrous nature of the trama. Slice off the surface layer of the fungi. Then slice the trama obliquely to produce the largest possible pieces.

To prepare the trama as tinder, we require to scrape up the surface of the slice. Using a knife or other sharp execute is the simplest way to do this. Scrape up the surface area till you have a bunch of fluffy material.

Now all you need to do is drop a trigger into the fluffy product. This fluff is very good at catching a spark and when fired up will smoulder for a while.

The smouldering will spread into the rest of the slice. This will then smoulder for a long period of time. This combustion is remarkably hot. The material will not flame, however. For that reason to light a fire by means of this technique you need to then take your smouldering tinder to extremely fine kindling to produce a flame. Examples of natural products appropriate for this include dried lawn, dried bracken fronds or correctly prepared bark fibres.

Once fired up, a larger lump of trama can smoulder for hours and can be utilized for carrying an ash or rekindling a fire at a later stage.

Due to the fact that the fruiting bodies of fomes fomentarius grow so slowly and can live several years, please show restraint in collecting them. Areas take a very long time to recuperate from over-exploitation. Take just what you need. [7]

Ingestion of the tinder fungi

There are 2 types that are most commonly used. These consist of, on the one hand, the tinder fungus in the form of a brewed tea and, on the other hand, in the form of a dietary supplement.

If you want to prepare a tinder fungus tea, you first need to pour the mushroom powder over it using boiling water. The tea must then be delegated rest for a couple of minutes prior to you can consume it. In the case of dietary supplements, tinder fungus capsules in particular have actually had the ability to assert themselves best up until now. In the end, taking it is very easy. The exact same applies to the two medical mushrooms chaga and auricularia.

For a satisfying outcome, regular intake is a must. When it comes to severe signs, you can also take in the capsules, alcoholic essence or tea day-to-day. The typical consumption of these funds has disappointed any side effects so far. After about 2-3 weeks of day-to-day use, you should take a break from utilizing tinder fungus items for at least 2 weeks in order to make sure an optimum effect.

Notification, that taking dietary supplements and vitamins can not replace a check out to a physician. [8]

Negative effects

It is only needed to remember that, despite healing homes, tinder fungi can also have adverse effects – trigger queasiness, vomiting, lightheadedness, allergies. You can not use it in food, as it is stuffed with poisoning. [9]

Research potential

Prospective exist to more research study the antiviral anti-bacterial and response residential or commercial properties of fomes fomentarious. As well research study possibilities exist in developing cosmetic preparations and likewise in fabrics.

Industrial possible

At this moment, there might be need for fungi from standard chinese medication. There could be considerable growth in demand based upon medicine an item that would be developed based upon medical & cosmetic research study and scientific trials.

Prospective amounts in north saskatchewan

Supply of 1000 kg (dried) is possible at this moment. Given advancement time this supply would be increased exponentially. [10]


  1. https://hikersnotebook.blog/fungi/polypores-and-puffballs/tinder-polypore-fomes-fomentarius/
  2. https://www.alaturka.info/en/life/flora/4264-tinder-sponge-tree-fungus-in-the-castle-spark-of-falkenstein
  3. https://healing-mushrooms.net/fomes-fomentarius
  4. https://www.first-nature.com/fungi/fomes-fomentarius.php
  5. https://learn.freshcap.com/tips/why-fomes-fomentarius-isnt-just-a-boring-polypore/
  6. https://ultimate-mushroom.com/poisonous/105-fomes-fomentarius.html
  7. https://paulkirtley.co.uk/2011/easy-way-to-use-fomes-fomentarius-as-tinder/
  8. https://www.fullelemental.com/shop/tinder-sponge-alcoholic-essence/
  9. https://uralstk.ru/en/drugs/trutovik-listvennichnyi-primenenie-recept-dlya-pohudeniya-iz/
  10. https://www.agwest.sk.ca/ckfinder/userfiles/files/birch%20fungi%20-%20fomes%20fomentarius.pdf
Our Score
Previous Story


Next Story

Tonka Bean

Latest from Blog