Grifola frondosa ~ Fall Wild Mushroom Hunting Tips ~ Hen of the Woods
Grifola frondosa is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. The mushroom is commonly known among English speakers as hen-of-the-woods, ram’s head and sheep’s head. In the United States’ supplement market, as well as in Asian grocery stores, the mushroom is known by its Japanese name maitake (舞茸), which means “dancing mushroom”. Throughout Italian American communities in the northeastern United States, it 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.
The fungus is native to the northeastern part of Japan and North America, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbology as a medicinal mushroom, an aid to balance out altered body systems to a normal level. It is widely eaten in Japan, and its popularity in western cuisine is growing, although the mushroom has been alleged to cause allergic reactions in rare cases.
Grifola frondosa: The Hen of the Woods ~ by Michael Kuo
Grifola frondosa, sometimes called the “hen of the woods,” is a soft-fleshed polypore recognized by its smoky brown, wavy caps, which are organized in large clusters of rosettes arising from a single, branched stem structure. It is usually found near the bases of oaks, where it causes a butt rot. It is very similar to Meripilus sumstinei (which has larger individual caps, smaller pores, and bruises black) and to Polyporus umbellatus (which has more clearly defined individual caps and stems). Microscopic features will also help separate these species.
Cooking and storing
The Hen of the Woods, AKA Maitake
Anything you can do with button mushrooms you can try with Maitake!