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Dryad's Saddle (Polyporus squamosus)

Other Names:

Pheasant's back,



Polyporaceae – Polypore family

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

Dryad's saddle is so named because the shape of the polypore resembles the seat of a saddle. The cap has dense overlapping scales tan to brownish scales. These scales resemble a pheasant's tail feathers, hence one of the other common name Pheasant's back.


The cap is large, fleshy, and tough. It can be up to a foot across. Although it usually appears singly, it is sometimes overlapping. The cap is flat and often sunken, resembling the seat of a saddle; hence its common name Dryad's saddle. The shape is usually round, but sometimes it can be oval or even kidney shaped.


When present, the stem is short, 1/2" - 2" long and 3/8" = 1.5" wide. The stem is typically off center, and dark at the base.


2 - 8 mm long. Large and descending stem.


White to yellowish and angular


10-16 x 4-6 µ; oblong, elliptical to cylindrical, smooth

Spore Print:

Spore print white


1/2 - 2" thick

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms Description:

Large, fleshy, tough, scaly, yellowish-brown cap with large, white to yellowish pores descending short stalk.

Cap: 6 - 30 cm wide; single or in overlapping clusters; flat to sunken, almost circular to kidney shaped; whitish to dingy yellowish or brownish; with dense, flat, overlapping scales. Flesh 0.5 - 3.5 cm thick; white. Odor and taste like watermelon rind

Tubes: 2 - 8 mm long; large, descending stalk. Pores angular, white or yellowish.

Stalk: 1 - 5 cm long, 1-4 cm thick; stub-like, lateral of off-center; black at base.

Spores: 10 - 16 x 4 - 6 µ; oblong-elliptical to cylindrical, smooth, colorless. Spore print white.


May - November


On living or dead deciduous wood.

Parts Used:

The entire cap when young, but as it toughens with age, the tender edges of the cap still remain tasty.


None Known


Wild Food Uses:

You can use this mushroom as you would any other. I enjoy thinly slicing the cap, and sautéing in butter. I also dicing the cap and adding it to soups and stews. I have also had good luck drying younger specimens, but find the older ones become far too tough when dried. I have heard that some people enjoy frying or pickling the cap, but I have not tried either methods.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

I know of no medicinal uses for this mushroom.

Medicinal Actions:


These photos taken by my friend Allen Ballard

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield