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Beefsteak Fungus Overview
Fistulina hepatica is an edible bracket fungus species commonly known as Beefsteak Fungus after its resemblance to uncooked meat. It has a meat-like texture and a sour, acidic taste, younger specimens are more palatable and this fungus requires a long cooking time. It typically grows to between 10-25cm in diameter and 2-6cm in thickness, coloured bright red-orange on the upper surface, cream-white underneath and shaped like a tongue and rough in texture, hence the other common name of Ox Tongue. It is a parasitic fungus, growing on the lower trunk of chestnut and oak tree species, often causing red-brown discolourment to the tree hosts. It appears from late summer into autumn annually, common to the UK, it may also be found in North America, Australia, Africa and Europe. In Australia this fungus targets Eucalyptus trees, causing brown rot. If cut, the flesh releases a red liquid, further mimicking meat.