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Grifola frondosa “Hen of the Woods, Maitake”

    Grifola frondosa is a polypore mushroom found mainly on oak trees and dead stumps in the late summer through autumn. I have never found one on any other kind of tree other than red oaks but it is said to grow on other hardwoods as well. I would’ve personally called them “Grouse of the Woods” as the remind me more of a ruffed grouse than a chicken.

Underside of Grifola frondosa

     Grifolas are in the top 5 of my favorite mushrooms to harvest. It doesn’t take more than one day of finding them to usually have enough for plenty of meals, they can grow very large, 10lbs+! Grifola frondosa has no poisonous look-alikes, although Meripilus_sumstinei “Black staining polypore” has similar features but much larger, wider caps that bruise and turn black with time. Grifolas grow from a central stalk, in large clusters of small petals. Much like a head of cauliflower. Grifolas have white pores under the caps and a white spore print.

    Some people can have allergies to this mushroom so as with any wild mushroom, never eat more than a small amount the first time you eat them. Once you know that you do not have any reaction to these very popular edibles, they are excellent in many sorts of dishes. I have had them fried, in soups, chili, roasts etc. Yum!!