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Manyzoned Polypore or Turkeytail

trametes versicolor


Trametes versicolor, often called the "turkey tail," has the dubious distinction of being the only member of the forest fungal fowl community not named for the full bird, but a feathery fraction. However, the chicken of the woods and the hen of the woods look nothing at all like chickens or hens, while the turkey tail does look (vaguely) like a turkey's tail. Who started this clucking menagerie of mushroom monikers, anyway? Was Old MacDonald a mycologist? Trametes versicolor is one of the most common mushrooms in North American woods, found virtually anywhere there are dead hardwood logs and stumps to decompose--and, occasionally, on conifer wood too. Its cap colors are extremely variable, but tend to stay in the buff, brown, cinnamon, and reddish brown range. The mushrooms are strikingly "zonate" with sharply contrasting concentric zones of color, and the surface of the cap is finely fuzzy or velvety. Often the zones represent contrasts in texture as well as color, so that fuzzy zones alternate with smoother ones. A number similar polypores, and even a few species of crust fungi, look more or less identical to the casual eye, and a whole host of mushrooms are thus lumped together as "turkey tails" by collectors who are more interested in gilled mushrooms and boletes. But if you are one of those folks, like me, who just has to be sure, I offer the Totally True Turkey Tail Test, below. ------Totally True Turkey Tail Test: ( )


location: North America, Europe edibility: Inedible fungus colour: Green, Red or redish or pink, Brown, Black or blackish, Grey to beige normal size: 5-15cm cap type: Other stem type: Lateral, rudimentary or absent flesh: Flesh fibrous usually pliable (like grass) spore colour: White, cream or yellowish habitat: Grows on wood Coriolus versicolor (L. ex Fr.) Quél. syn. Trametes versicolor (L. ex Fr.) Pilát. Turkey Tail, Schmetterlingsporling Polypore versicolore, Manyzoned Polypore. Bracket 4–10cm across, 3–5cm wide, 0.1–0.3cm thick, leathery, usually forming large overlapping tiered groups; upper surface velvety becoming smooth with age, colour very variable, concentrically zoned black-green, grey-blue, grey-brown or ochraceous-rust, with a white to cream margin. Flesh tough and leathery, white. Taste and smell not distinctive. Tubes 0.5–1mm long, white drying yellowish. Pores 3–5 per mm, circular or irregularly angular, white, yellowish or light brown. Spores straw-yellow, ellipsoid, 5.5–6´1.5–2m. Hyphal structure trimitic. Habitat on deciduous wood. Season all year. Very common. Not edible. This is a very variable species and some authors recognize several forms. Distribution, America and Europe. ( )


Scientific name: Trametes versicolor (L.:Fr.) Pilat. Derivation of name: Trametes means "one who is thin"; versicolor means "of various colors" in reference to the strongly zonate cap. Synonymy: Polyporus versicolor L.: Fr.; Boletus versicolor L.; Coriolus versicolor (L.) Quel. Common names: Turkey tail; Many-zoned polypore. Phylum: Basidiomycota Order: Polyporales Family: Polyporaceae Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic to weakly parasitic; clustered, usually overlapping or in fused rosettes on dead deciduous wood or on dying trees, rarely on conifer wood; May through December, found year-round. Dimensions: Caps 2.5-8 cm wide and 1-3 mm thick. Upper surface: Multicolored with yellowish, orangish, grayish, bluish, blackish, and reddish-brown concentric zones; outermost zone usually pale; hairy velvety zones alternating with almost glabrous zones. Pore surface: White to yellowish, pores 3-5 per mm. Edibility: Inedible. Comments: This very colorful polypore may be the most common decomposer of hardwoods in North America ( ) ------is an extremely common polypore mushroom which can be found throughout the world. Versicolor means 'of several colours' and it is true that this mushroom is found in a wide variety of different colours. T. versicolor is commonly called turkey tail because of its resemblance to the tail of the wild turkey. T. versicolor is recognized as a medicinal mushroom in Chinese medicine under the name yun zhi (simplified Chinese: 云芝, traditional Chinese: 雲芝). In China and Japan T. versicolor is used as in immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer.[more complete info on (wikipedia),----( ), ( )

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Spotted by

Heerlen, Limburg, Netherlands

Spotted on Feb 20, 2012
Submitted on Feb 20, 2012

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