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Mushrooms

Grifola

Mushrooms

Hen of the Woods, Sheeps Head, Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

 
   Grifola frondosa is fruiting in large clusters of rosettes near the bases of trees; often reappearing in the same place in subsequent years; summer and fall; widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains, rare in the west. Distribution: America and Europe. The "Hen of the Woods" is easily recognized by its smoky brown, wavy caps, organized in large clusters of rosettes arising from a single, branched stem structure. It is usually found near the bases of hardwood stumps, and occasionally on living hardwoods. Grifola frondosa is a very good edible, but one should be careful to gather only very young specimens, or trim the softer, outer portions of the caps for the table.
Description:
   Fruit body 15-40 cm diameter, subglobose, consisting of a central repeatedly branched stem, each branch ending in a flattened tongue-shaped cap; each cap 4-10 cm across, 0.5-1 cm thick, leathery and wavy at the margin, upper surface usually wrinkled, grey or olivaceous drying brownish. Stem cream or pale greyish. Flesh white. Taste pleasant when young and fresh, soon acrid, smell reminiscent of mice. Tubes 2-3 mm long on the underside of each cap, and decurrent far down the stem, whitish. Pores two per mm, subcircular to slightly angular, larger and more irregular on the stem. Spores ellipsoid, 5.5-7 x 3.5-4.5 m. Hyphal structure monomitic; generative hyphae with clamp connections.
 

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