Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Names That Make Kids Laugh - Chicken Mushroom

There are some names of native species that always make kids laugh:  Tufted Titmouse, Square-stemmed Monkeyflower, Squirrel Corn, the always popular Bladdernut, etc.

Another is one of the most striking fungi found in Mid-Michigan: the Chicken Mushroom.

Chicken Mushroom or Chicken of the Woods

The Chicken Mushroom (Laetiporous sulphureus), also known as the Chicken of the Woods or Sulphur Shelf, is a very large bracket fungus that grows up to one foot across.  They are found growing on living and dead hardwoods and conifers throughout North America.

Note the colors- yellow to orange to red

The sulphereus in its name refers to its sulfur yellow color with the brightest color on the margins of the mushroom.  This color fades to orange and red as the fungus ages. 

A close-up of the Chicken Mushroom

Young samples of the Chicken Mushroom and the margins of older ones are edible.  This is one of the easiest edible mushrooms to identify.

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