The Polyporales is a clade of Agaricomycetes (Basidiomycota) that has historically been the repository for many of the macrofungi with poroid hymenophores (spore-bearing structures), including those with tough or perennial fruiting bodies (e.g., Fomes, Ganoderma), but excluding the fleshy Boletales. It is now well-established that “polypores” have evolved repeatedly in groups such as the Hymenochaetales, Gloeophyllales, Russulales and Thelephorales, and that not all Polyporales are poroid. Some of the non-poroid Polyporales include gilled mushrooms (Lentinus, Panus) and “cauliflower fungi” (Sparassis), but by far the greatestdiversity of non-poroid Polyporales are corticioid fungi, which are resupinate, crust-like forms. The Polyporales contains a major concentration of wood-decay fungi, as well as some timber pathogens. They play an important role in the carbon cycle, and their ligninolytic and cellulolytic enzymes have come under scrutiny for use in biofuel production, bioremediation, and other “green” technologies.

The Polyporales contains ca. 1800 described species, of which roughly 40% are corticioid (Meruliaceae, Phanerochaetaceae, etc). However, it is estimated that only about 5-10% of extant fungal species have been described. Corticioid forms are cryptic and understudied, so it is likely that they are particularly underdescribed. Moreover, mating studies and analyses of molecular data have repeatedly shown that even “well-known”, conspicuous fungal taxa, such as “sulfur shelf” polypores (Laetiporus spp.), often harbor extensive cryptic diversity.

The main research projects developed under Polypeet are:

  • Phlebia and related taxa (Phlebioid clade)
  • Antrodia and related taxa (Antrodia clade)
  • Other Polyporales

Visit the individual pages for background information and new results (as they become available) for each Polypeet research project