Dryad's Saddle

(Polyporus squamosus)

Other Names:
Phesant back


Polyporaceae – Polypore family

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.

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

Miscellaneous characteristics:
N/A. Stalk: NA

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

May - November

Can be found growing 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.

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.

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:
None Known

Medicinal Actions:

An older specimin found by my friend Allan Ballard.

Another picture taken by Allan Ballard.