This section is from the book "Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc.", by George Francis Atkinson. Also available from Amazon: Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc..
This is a very interesting genus, but the species are very few. The plants are tough, pliant when fresh, and dry. The gills are very characteristic, being split along the edge and generally strongly revolute, that is, the split edges curve around against the side of the gill. This character can be seen sometimes with the aid of a hand lens, but is very evident when a section of the cap and gills is made and then examined with a microscope. The spores are white.
Schizophyllum alneum (L.) Schroet. - This species usually goes by the name of Schizophyllum commune, but the earlier name is 5. alneum. It is a very common plant and is world wide in its distribution, growing on wood, as on branches, trunks, etc. It is white, and the pileus is very hairy or tomentose, with coarse white hairs. It is 1-3 cm. in diameter, and the cap is sessile, either attached at one side when the cap is more produced on one side than on the other, or it may be attached at or near the center of the top, when the cap is more evenly developed on all sides. It is often crenate or lobed on the margin, the larger plants showing this character more prominently. The margin is incurved. The gills are white, wooly, branched and extend out toward the margin of the cap like the radiations of a fan. The gills are deeply split along the edge, and strongly revolute. It is a very pretty plant, but one becomes rather tired of collecting it because it is so common. It may be found at all seasons of the year on dead sticks and branches, either in the woods or elsewhere, if the branches are present. It is very coriaceous, and tough. During dry weather it is much shrunken and curled up, but during rains it expands quickly and then it is seen in its beauty.
Schizophyllum alneum (=S. commune). View of under side (natural size). Copyright.
Plate 43, Figure 134
Trogia crispa. Large cluster of caps, view of underside (natural size). Copyright.
Figure 133 shows the plant in the expanded condition, from the under side. The plants were growing on a hickory branch, and were dry and shrunken when brought in the laboratory. The branch and the fungus were placed in water for a few hours, when the fungus expanded, and was then photographed in this condition.