The genus Phellinus contains around 220 species of wood consuming polypores and crust fungi. Most of the species cause white rot, a plant disease that breaks down lignin and cellulose. The species (Phellinus ellipsoideus) with the largest known fruiting bodies derives from the Phellinus genus.

Medicinal Properties of Phellinus

  • Epidemiologists are studying the species Phellinus linteus as an alternative cancer treatment.
  • Traditional Chinese medicine uses various Phellinus species for antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, treat cardiovascular disease, and many more.
  • Aborigines in Australia use Phellinus fruiting bodies to treat sore throats, fevers, and diarrhea. However, the exact identity of the species they use isn't determined.

Defining Characteristicsof Phellinus

Genetic analysis is often needed to identify Phellinus species because some species are nearly identical. Fruiting bodies of Phellinus species are sessile (no stipe) and resupinate, which means the hymenium (spore-bearing tissue) is connected directly to the substrate. They also exhibit yellow to tan colored skeletal hyphae. This type of hyphae is long, unbranching with thick-walls of chitin. The flesh of Phellinus species is rough and wood-like.