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Posts Tagged ‘edible mushrooms’

fungus1

When RailGuy and I were out hiking near Arnprior, northwest of Ottawa, a couple of weeks ago, we spotted this amazing fungus. It’s Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus). It would have been difficult to miss it! Its bright colouring really popped against the subdued hues of the forest and its size was impressive, more than 18 inches from top to bottom. Chicken of the Woods is said to be widespread and relatively common, but I hadn’t previously come across any, so was really pleased to chance upon it.

Autumn is a good time for fungus hunting. Chicken of the Woods are most likely to be found from August through October. Also known as Sulphur Shelf, it is a type of bracket fungus. The fruitbodies can be up to 30 cm across and are bright sulphur-yellow to yellowish-orange. It fruits on a variety of trees, both living and dead, both conifers and hardwoods.

Chicken on the Woods is edible and gets its odd name from a reputed similarity in flavour to, yes, chicken. We didn’t sample any, however, and left it intact. I don’t have enough confidence in my identification skills to try wild mushrooms (although I was pretty sure of this one), and even known edible mushrooms can be tricky. For example, eating Sulphur Shelf is not recommended if the fungus is growing on a conifer. Further, some people are sensitive to even normally benign fungi.

Beyond that, we were just visitors to the forest, and not part of the ecosystem. We left the fungi untouched, waiting for nature to run its course.

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