Tinder Fungus refers to a number of species of
fungi that catch and hold coals very well.
They are used for holding a coal for an extended
period of time, so as to not have to go through the effort of restarting a fire.
Simply pry off a chunk of the smoldering Tinder Fungus and use it to light some
tinder and remake your fire.
They are also used to initially catch sparks in
certain fire-making methods, such as the
Please note that the names of "True Tinder Fungus" and "False
Tinder Fungus" will vary from region to region, and also depending on your
context. For example, from a mushroomers point of view, naming Chaga (Inonotus
obliquus) as tinder fungus is incorrect. A common name would be either chaga or
clinker polypore; and that which is identified on this site as false tinder
fungus is the true one! In any case, chaga makes a great tea with anti cancer
properties. Fomes fomentarius the tinder polypore is also medicinal and can be
used to make cloth or paper. (Thanks to David Spahr
With apologies to the foregoing, I have left the names "incorrect" on this
website, as in wilderness survival circles they are named as indicated in this
I have received a number of emails from
visitors expressing their concern that these pages encourage the use of such
a valuable material as Tinder Fungus. Yes, True Tinder Fungus is not common,
especially the high grade stuff. Usually the concerns center around the fact
that this fungus has natural medicinal properties, and hence its "waste" as
a fire starter/carrier.
Well, all I can say is... decide for yourself.
Just like any wild material that you might harvest, do so with care and an
eye to how plentiful it is, and how long nature may take to replenish what
you have taken. Please don't waste rare or uncommon materials if you must
Another point of view is the old saying ... "One man's poison
is another man's cure". Meaning in this case that those who want to use this
for medicinal purposes may deplore its use for fire, whilst those who want
to use it for fire may deplore its use as a medicinal!