A perennial fungus that can be found throughout the year on dead tree stumps and logs (occasionally living trees) is the red-belted polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola). Found on over a hundred different host trees, this polypore is also commonly known as a wood conk. It is found throughout Canada and much of the United States except the extreme South.
The red-belted polypore, like all polypores, produces its spores in pores rather than on the surface of gills. It can be flat, convex or hoof shaped and looks like a shelf growing off its host. I usually think of this conk as resembling a hoof. It is stalkless, hard and woody. The red-belted polypore is easy to identify because just inside of the thickened, white outer margin there is a red zone. As one progresses inward there are concentric rings with a brown or black resinous crust. Each zone or ring represents one year’s growth. The pores on the underside are white. The white margin and red zone are very diagnostic of the red-belted polypore.
With its woody texture the red-belted polypore is not considered palatable, although it is not poisonous.
These pictures were taken near Ashland OR. I like the red-belted polypore because it is one mushroom that I have no problem identifying.