Tag Archives: Fungus

The hen of the woods

8 Oct

This is a first for me.  I’ve never seen one at the cottage but I wasn’t looking, was I?  Edible.  Would I chance having a taste?  NOPE! 

To properly identify some look-alike mushrooms it is recommended that you taste them… (ahem)… to see if they are the edible or poisonous variety.   I DON’T THINK SO.   I will find one or two that I can be sure of my identification of and try those … one day.  I am sure of my identification of this hen of the woods – but it doesn’t look that tasty.


Grifola frondosa is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. The mushroom is commonly known as Hen-of-the-Woods. In the United States’ supplement market, as well as in Asian grocery stores, the mushroom is known by its Japanese name "Maitake", which means "dancing mushroom". Throughout Italian American communities in the northeastern United States, is is commonly known as the Signorina mushroom. G. frondosa should not be confused with Laetiporus sulphureus, another edible bracket fungus that is commonly called chicken of the woods or "sulphur shelf". The fungus becomes inedible like all polypores when they are older, because it is too tough to eat.

”In 2009, a phase I/II human trial, conducted by Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center, showed Maitake could stimulate the immune systems of breast cancer patients. Small experiments with human cancer patients, have shown Maitake can stimulate immune system cells. An in vivo experiment showed that Maitake could stimulate both the innate immune system and adaptive immune system.”
This mushroom is supposed to be quite good to eat and, from the medical trials above, could be good for you. This specimen was found in Memorial Park, Windsor in September of 2011.



A dearth of fungus

21 Sep

Bad timing.  I was all hyped up about mushroom hunting here at the cottage after the wild abundance at Andrea’s cottage.  The end of a hot, dry summer is really not a good time for mushrooms.  I have had to look high and low to find any fungus at all – a bit of a letdown after tripping over them with every step in New Brunswick.  I did manage to record a few finds on this trip and I am posting the photos now, even though I haven’t identified them yet.

BUT – on the subject of mushroom identification, I’ve just picked up a great book that may help speed up my identifications.  Highly recommended by me – it covers your area too Andrea…


But I digress… here are the only finds from the cottage this week – ->

cottage fall 2011 -112cottage fall 2011 -111cottage fall 2011 -106

cottage fall 2011 -107









Above and below is one of my favourites because they are so vibrant and changeable – the POLYPOUR VERSICOLOR.


The fungus pictured below are HUGE!  I can’t wait to find out what they are…

cottage fall 2011 -100-3

cottage fall 2011 -101-3cottage fall 2011 -102-3

September 16 – The Mighty Naturalist ain’t so smart

29 Sep

Being an armchair naturalist actually takes some work and study – the more you learn, the more need to learn.  I am now in the position of knowing how much I don’t know.  I assumed that since they were all so distinctive, mosses, mushrooms , lichens and fungus would be easy-peasy to identify.  Ho-ho-ho – apparently nothing is easy in the world of identification.  After a session with mum and I both looking through a foot-high stack of nature guides on plants, mushrooms, wetland plants, amphibians and others, we managed to identify the grey frog and brown cockroach (see previous post) as well as the following;

cortinarius cinnamomeus for blog 

polyporus versacolor for blogfalse pixie cup for blog

I really love the false pixie cup – here is a closer look at some.  It is a bit dryer that the selection above so it looks slightly different – fascinating though…no?


Not much identified – at this rate I’ll have to work all winter on this!

September 15 – Fungus, mmm

26 Sep

Did you know … that there are BILLIONS of spores in a single mushroom and spores can remain dormant for up to 20 years.

Did a bit of washing and gathering of kindling in preparation for rain tomorrow…hard rain…all day.


It sounds like a day spend under a big woolly blanket  going through several hundred photos taken of trees, plants, mosses, and other species and doing some serious identification.  A day inside will give me the quiet time needed to start organizing some of the main components of the Managed Forest Plan.

In advance of any rain, I made a quick trip to the glade to catalogue some fungi.


mlf-25mlf-81These stunning fungi are growing in great profusion in the glade on the carcases of some large hardwood trees lying on the forest floor.  The colors change drastically, depending on how wet the fungus is.  The next time I saw this one it had rained and the fungus looked drab and greyish with only a hint of the blue-green you see here.

mlf-83 mlf-98

OK, here’s a question for you – is this one a lichen or a fungus?mlf-43

Since these pictures are only a fraction of what I have, it looks like I have a lot of work to do with the Mushrooms of North America guide.

By afternoon, Mum and Tim arrived and the rain has not come!