Polyporaceae – Polypore family
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 white
1/2 - 2" thick
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.
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.
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.
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