Fungalpedia – Note 135 Stereum


Stereum Hill ex Pers. 

Citation if using this entry: Bera et al. (in prep) Basidiomycota. Mycosphere.

Index Fungorum, Facesoffungi, MycoBank, GenBank, Fig. 1

Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes, Russulales, Stereaceae

The name “Stereum” was first used in a generic sense by John Hill in 1751 (Chamuris 1988). From 1955 to 1968, emphasizing the micro-morphological characters, Stereum was defined in a more restricted manner to only the closely related taxa of the type species,  S. hirsutum (Willd.) Pers. (Boidin 1958Pouzar 1959Parmasto 1968Chamuris 1988Eicker & Louw 1998). The generic characteristic features that delimited the genus are the stipitate to effuso-reflexed, or dirnidiate or resupinate habit, presence of encrusted cystidia (gloeocystidia or sulfocystidia), and clamp connections in both basidia and hyphae (Eicker & Louw 1998). Thus, after narrowing the concept of Stereum, the genus represented a homogenous, natural, monophyletic group (Chamuris 1988).

Currently, classified under the order Russulales (based on molecular data and certain microscopical characters), Stereum is characterized by its annual or perennial, papery, tough basidiomata (Eicker & Louw 1998, Ţura et al. 2008). The pileus cover is trichodermoid, transitions into a crust resembling that of a fomitoid (Ţura et al. 2008). The evenly and variably coloured hymenium sometimes turns into reddish or yellowish orange on bruising (Ţura et al. 2008). Transverse sections of the context often show dark reddish deposits between the core and tomentum (Ţura et al. 2008). The presence of weakly amyloid basidiospores and lactiferous hyphae confirms its systematic position in the Russuloid clade (Larsson & Larsson 2003Larsson 2007Ţura et al. 2008). The hyphal system can be monomitic or dimitic with thick-walled hyphae (Ţura et al. 2008). The compact nature of the hyphae makes Stereum basidiomata so tough (Ţura et al. 2008). 

Stereum typically thrives in xerophilic environments, colonizing both fallen and upright branches, trunks, and stumps of deciduous and coniferous tree species. This white rot fungus has been reported globally both from coniferous forests of Europe and North America and arid zones of Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East (Binyamini 1983Breitenbach & Kränzlin 1986Chamuris 1988Ginns & Lefebvre 1993Eicker & Louw 1998, Ţura et al. 2008). 

The ecological significance of Stereum is its capacity to degrade wood and contribute to carbon cycling within arid forest ecosystems (Overholts 1939, Woon & Jung 1999). Another interesting fact about this genus is the presence of a wide array of secondary metabolites that are responsible for the antioxidant, cytotoxic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, autophagy-inducing activities that make Stereum medicinally valuable as well (Çayan et al. 2019Tian et al. 2020). 

Type species: Stereum hirsutum (Willd.) Pers.


Figure 1. a. Stereum sp. (picture courtesy: Mr. Sabin Khyaju), b-e. Stereum hirsutum. a. Basidiomata. b. Basidiospores. c. Hymenial section showing hyphidia and basidia. d. Hyphae. e. Pseudocystidia. Scale bars: b-e = 10 μm. Drawn from Ţura et al. 2008.



Binyamini N 1983 – Lignicolous Aphyllophorales fungi from Israel IV (Corticiaceae II). Nova Hedwigia, 36(2–4), 291–308.

Boidin J 1958 – Heterobasidiomycetes saprophytes et Homobasidiomycetes resupines V. Essai sur le genre Stereum Pers. Rev. Mycol., 23, 318–346.

Breitenbach J, Kränzlin F 1986 – Fungi of Switzerland, Vol. 2. Non gilled fungi-Heterobasidiomycetes, Aphyllophorales, Gasteromycetes. Verlag Mycologia, CH-6000 Lucerne 9, Switzerland, pp. 150.

Çayan F, Tel-Çayan G, Deveci E, Öztürk M, Duru ME 2019 – Chemical profile, in vitro enzyme inhibitory, and antioxidant properties of Stereum species (Agaricomycetes) from Turkey. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 21(11), 1075–1087.,25f9c61f6dbb0698,6ed54cfd4a51b041.html

Chamuris GP 1988 – The non-stipitate stereoid fungi in the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Mycologia Memoir, 14, 7–244.

Eicker A, Louw S 1998 – Stereum species (Stereaceae) of South Africa. South African journal of botany, 64(1), 30–37.

Ginns J, Lefebvre MNL 1993 – Lignicolous corticioid fungi of North America. Systematics, distribution and ecology. Mycologia Memoirs, 19, 1–247.

Larsson E, Larsson KH 2003 – Phylogenetic relationships of russuloid basidiomycetes with emphasis on aphyllophoralean taxa. Mycologia, 95(6), 1037–1065.

Larsson KH 2007 – Re-thinking the classification of corticioid fungi. Mycological research, 111(9), 1040–1063.

Overholts LO 1939 – The genus Stereum in Pennsylvania. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 515-537.

Parmasto E 1968 – Conspectus systematis corticiacearum. Inst. Zool. Bot., Acad. Sci. RPSS. pp 261.

Pouzar Z 1959 – New gerena of higher fungi III. Ceska Mycol, 13, 10–19.

Tian M, Zhao P, Li G, Zhang K 2020 – In depth natural product discovery from the basidiomycetes Stereum species. Microorganisms, 8(7), 1049.

Ţura D, Zmitrovich IV, Wasser SP, Nevo E 2008 – The genus Stereum in Israel. Mycotaxon, 106, 109–126.

Woon LY, Jung HS 1999 – Taxonomic study on Korean Stereum. Korean J. Mycol., 27(5), 343–353.


Entry by

Ishika Bera, Center of Excellence in Fungal Research, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand


(Edited by Kevin D Hyde)