Split Gill

(Schizophyllum commune)

Conservation Status
Split Gill
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed


not listed


not listed


Split Gill is one of the most common and widespread mushrooms on the planet. It occurs on six continents, absent only from Antarctica, where there are no trees to support it. It is also one of the best studied fungi species. The genome was sequenced in in 2010, and it is often used in the laboratory because it fruits so readily.

It is found scattered, in small groups, in rows, or in fused clusters, on stumps, logs, and sticks of dead hardwood, especially oak. Worldwide it is found decomposing more than 150 different species. It is saprobic, obtaining its nutrients from decaying wood.

There is no stalk but the narrowed point of attachment on some individuals resembles a short stalk.

The cap is small, to 19 16 in diameter. It may have a narrow base or be shelf-like, broadly attached to the surface (substrate). When attached to the side of a log or stick it is more or less fan-shaped. When attached above or below a log or stick it is irregular to shell-shaped. It is tough, leathery, and thin, both when wet and when dry. The upper surface is dry, densely hairy, and white to grayish-white or gray when dry, sometimes tan when wet. The margin is usually dry and is rolled under when dry.

The underside (spore surface) is covered with gill-like folds radiating from the point of attachment. The folds are thick, whitish to grayish, and appear hairy when dry. They are creamy white, smooth, and split down the middle longitudinally when moist. They close up in dry weather, protecting the spores, and open when moistened.

The flesh is whitish or grayish, tough, and thin. It is considered inedible in North America and Europe due to its toughness and small size. However, it is used in the cuisines of places with dryer climates, where fleshy mushrooms are difficult to transport to market.

The spore print is white.


Similar Species


Crimped Gill (Plicaturopsis crispa) has a tan to yellowish cap. The gills are conspicuously wavy.

Habitat and Hosts

Scattered or clustered on stumps, logs, and sticks of hardwood, especially oak.




Fruits from spring to fall but persists year round


Distribution Map



4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.




Very common and very widespread

  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Agaricales (common gilled mushrooms and allies)  
  Suborder Schizophyllineae  
  Family Schizophyllaceae  
  Genus Schizophyllum  

Some mycologists place the genus Schizophyllum in its own order, the Schizophyllales.




Agaricus alneus

Agaricus multifidus

Apus alneus

Merulius alneus

Merulius communis

Schizophyllum alneum

Schizophyllum commune var. multifidum

Schizophyllum multifidum


Common Names


Split Gill

Split Gill Fungus













Obtaining nutrients from non-living organic matter, such as decaying plant or animal matter.



The surface on which a lichen or fungi grows.






Multiple Sexes

There are more than 28,000 sexes of Schizophyllum commune defined as distinct pair combinations of alleles at two loci. Each individual is sexually compatible with 27,997 (99.98%) of other individuals worldwide. This may explain why the Harvard study mentioned above was able to successfully mate all of their samples.




Species Complex

Schizophyllum commune is usually treated as a single species. Based on traditional biological species recognition and on morphology, it is a single species with worldwide distribution. This was supported by studies done at Harvard University, where samples collected from all over the world were successfully mated. More recent genetic analysis in 2001 showed it to be a complex of three closely related but distinct phylogenetic species that cannot be reliably distinguished based on their morphology but are genetically differentiated and reproductively isolated. One species occurs in North America and Central America, one in South America, and one in Europe and Asia. Human activity has resulted in migration and population expansion of the three species. Based on phylogenetic species concept (PSC), there are three species. Based on biological species concept (BCS), there are several.

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... after a light snow, so I imagine the edges are a light dusting of that.

    Split Gill   Split Gill  

Robert Briggs


I thought this was a fuzzy white bracket fungus, but I think the gills give it away as being (Schizophyllum commune). Might be the most common fungus in the known universe, but it's the first time I've noticed it.

  Split Gill  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos





Schizophyllum commune - fungi kingdom
Nineli Lishina

Published on Jan 25, 2015

Schizophyllum commune - fungi kingdom




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Schizophyllum commune: Champimaginatis.EnglishText
jean pierre Piétri

Uploaded on Dec 27, 2009

Schizophyllum commune.Schizophylle commun.EnglishText

  Ciuperci Schizophyllum commune
Adrian Manolache

Published on Apr 9, 2016

Biolog, dar nu si micolog, incerc sa realizez o Enciclopedie Video a Ciupercilor din Romania. Colind zile intregi prin paduri, munti, dealuri, poieni in cautare de ciuperci, in special necunoscute. Nu ma grabesc cu sistematizarea lor, fiind inca fascinat de surprizele care ma asteapta aproape zilnic. Lipsa unor lucrari ample de micologie cu zona Carpatilor, ma aduce deseori in fata unor necunoscute. Unor ciuperci necunoscute. In Regnul Fungi, lucrurile se schimba astazi, aproape total. Se incearca o noua clasificare pe baze de caracteristici genetice si toata sistematica e in aer. Pentru un ciupercar obisnuit care colinda dupa un cos de ciuperci lucrurile acestea nu conteaza. Crede el. Dar, lumea ciupercilor e mult mai complexa. De pilda, ciuperci considerate comestibile pana acum cativa ani, s-au dovedit ca au efecte nocive sau chiar letale, in timp. Exista nenumarate ciuperci necunoscute lui, toxice, necomestibile, letale sau indiferente asemanatoare cu ciupercile comestibile si care pot sa il puna intr-o situatie neplacuta. Vremea, soarele puternic, ploile intense, locatia te pot pacali in identificarea unor ciuperci. Insasi faptul ca in cataloage diferite sunt ciuperci considerate comestibile de unii autori si toxice sau necomestibile de altii, pune in dificultate pe toata lumea. Cel mai greu este insa sa suporti superficialitatea oamenilor atunci cand e vorba de ciuperci. Unii devin violenti verbal sau chiar fizic daca incerci sa le salvezi viata aruncandu-le din cos o ciuperca cu probleme, altii te injura in comentarii pentru ca "ei stiu mai bine". Cei mai multi imi trimit mii de fotografii cu ciuperci sa le spun daca sunt comestibile sau nu. E imposibil sa ii faci sa inteleaga ca nu poti sa le risti viata dupa o simpla poza. In treizeci de ani de biologie si in trei ani de micologie practica am invatat ca in lumea ciupercilor trebuie sa te feresti de cel care spune "eu stiu". Eu nu stiu ciuperci si le multumesc celor care ma ajuta uneori cu identificarea si determinarea lor.

Google Translation: Biologist, but not mycologist, trying to do a Video Encyclopedia of Mushrooms of Romania. Carol for days through forests, mountains, hills, meadows in search of mushrooms, especially strangers. Do not hurry with their systematic, they are still fascinated by the surprises waiting for me almost every day. Lack of comprehensive mycology works with the Carpathians, often brings me in front of strangers. Mushrooms unknown. The fungus, things change today, almost totally. Is trying a new classification base and all systematic genetic characteristics is in the sky. For a mushroom commonly wandering a basket of mushrooms after these things do not matter. Believe it. But fungi world is much more complex. For instance, considered edible mushrooms few years ago, proved to have harmful or even fatal, in time. There's countless unknown mushrooms, poisonous, inedible lethal or indifferent similar edible mushrooms that can put it in a bad situation. The weather, sun, intense rains, I can fool location in identifying mushrooms. The very fact that different catalogs are considered edible mushrooms and some authors toxic or inedible others embarrass everyone. It is hardest to bear superficiality people but when it comes to mushrooms. Some become violent verbal or even physical life if you try to save them by throwing them from the basket a fungus problems, others swear you in comments because "they know better". Most send my thousands of photos of mushrooms are edible if you tell them or not. It's impossible to make them understand that they can not risk their lives by a simple picture. In thirty years of biology and mycology three years of practice I learned that the world of fungi must stay away from the one who says "I know". I do not know mushrooms and thank those who help me sometimes with their identification and determination.




Visitor Sightings

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Location: Fairview Twp, Cass County

... after a light snow, so I imagine the edges are a light dusting of that.

Split Gill  
  Robert Briggs

I thought this was a fuzzy white bracket fungus, but I think the gills give it away as being (Schizophyllum commune). Might be the most common fungus in the known universe, but it's the first time I've noticed it.

Split Gill  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings




Created: 11/2/2016

Last Updated:

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