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HEN-OF-THE-WOODS

Grifola frondosa

Bracket [fungi] Family [Coriolaceae]

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14th Sept 2011, Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
A clustered clump of feather-like lobes growing up to half a metre across.


14th Sept 2011, Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Often growing at the base of deciduous trees, especially Oak Trees (but here probably Sweet Chestnut on account of the prickly casing bottom left). The leaf-like 'fronds' often have a 'ruffled feather' appearance.


14th Sept 2011, Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Ocre to brownish from above and darkening with age.


14th Sept 2011, Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Whitish underneath where the fine circular or angular pores are to be found.


14th Sept 2011, Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Many over-lapping, flattened and undulating leaf-like lobes, which are leathery, tough and with a fibrous texture.


Some similarities to : Umbrella Polypore, another fungus which has a similar clustered group of caps, but which are umbrella shaped with a central depression and more of a charcoal greyish brown. It is also similar to Giant Polypore but although that also grows on the ground it is much larger at about twice the diameter of Hen-of-the-Woods.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

Related to : Chicken-of-the-Woods [a plant with similar name which is in the same family coriolaceae (but differing Genus)].

Mainly a southern fungus in the UK, which grows at the base of deciduous trees, especially those of Oak, and especially where lightning has previously struck. Rarely on coniferous trees.

With a ruffled feather appearance and shaped like a brooding hen it takes on the common name 'Hen-of-the-Woods'. Although the feathery leaves look as though they are separate mushrooms, they are not; if a cross-section is taken through the centre-line, it will be seen that the structure is more like that of a cauliflower, off-whitish in bulk, and with a single wide part at the bottom, which branches repeatedly until it flattens at the edges to be seem by external observers as the 'feathers', which are brown on top, but retain the off-white colour underneath.

It is edible when young and is widely eaten in Japan, but like all polypores, of which it is one, it becomes tough and inedible when old. It has been known to cause allergic reactions.


  Grifola frondosa  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Coriolaceae  

HEN-OF-THE-WOODS

Grifola frondosa

Bracket [fungi] Family [Coriolaceae]

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