A silver birch with ears of fungus growing from the trunk

Birch Bracket

Names: Piptoporus betulinus, Birch Bracket or Razor Strop
Hosts: Birch
Attacks: Stems and Branches
Consequences: Brown rot, Wood becomes brittle, leading to brittle fracture
Technically an edible species with a pleasant odour, but bitter taste. The fungus’ tough leathery skin has been used for stropping blades, and when dry makes good tinder. In fact the Ice Mummy Otzi found in the Alps was carrying pieces of Birch Bracket, which may have been used for either purpose or as rations 5,000 years ago.