Crab of the woods, or Chicken of the woods - an edible and tasty arboreal parasite

By madventure | Nature, Photography | 14 Feb 2024

This edible arboreal mushroom has various interesting names. Some call the mushroom "crab of the woods", or "sulfur polypore", but the most common common name is "chicken of the woods".

The fungus is quite common and appears in Europe in spring and continues to grow until autumn. It can be found on old poplars, oaks, willows, plums and pears. It does not occur in conifers.

It is a parasite and tree killer. After core infection, the tree dies within a few years.

The mushroom grows sideways from the tree and can be quite large, up to 40 cm in diameter. It has a fan-shaped shape and its lobes overlap each other, grow in a tile manner and thus form a cluster that looks very impressive.

Chicken of the woods has a distinctive yellowish, light orange color reminiscent of a piece of sulfur ore. Older fruiting bodies are brighter.

The surface of the mushroom is matte, slightly suede, and the edges are curled and wavy.

The pores and tubes have an identical slightly yellow color, lighter than the top part of the mushroom, and tear-like droplets may appear on their surface.

Fleshy, soft and juicy, and the flesh is suitable for culinary use. It can have a yellowish, cream or even salmon color. It has a nice mushroom taste and smell.

Older fruiting bodies are stringy, brittle, have an unpleasant odor and are not suitable for consumption. Opinions on the usefulness of the mushroom are divided. There's only one thing everyone agrees on - raw Chicken of the woods is poisonous! When it is boiled, then ground and formed into cutlets, fried in oil, it is a real delicacy.

Enjoy 😉

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