TURKEY TAIL

SHORT HISTORY

Photo by B. Glasson

It's been used as early as the 15th century, in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the yunzhi mushroom also known as "turkey tail" for its uncanny resemblance to one, was boiled to release its restorative vital chi properties.

Referenced as the "Cloud Mushroom" due to its image of swirling clouds, Trametes versicolor meaning 'of several colors' describes this fungus multiple colors. In Asian cultures the cloud-like image symbolized "longevity and health, spiritual attunement and infinity."

Turkey Tail mushroom is one the most researched medicinal mushroom, and has a long history of use in Asia among traditional Chinese used as both food and medicine to strengthen the body and overall wellness.

BOTANY & FORAGING

Photo by B. Glasson

The colorful fungus that grows on dead hardwood trees is found almost everywhere trees grow and fall.

It grows so abundantly around the world and is native throughout North America. Turkey Tail mushroom is a “polypore” or bracket fungus that clasps around tree trunks like decorative shelves or fans.

The cap measures anywhere between 1/2 - 4 inches across, with an outer edge that may be either smooth or lobed and wavy. It's cap colors are quite variable with sharply contrasting concentric zones of color. The caps are characterized by defined bands of different colors that include various shades of cream, grey, yellow, orange, brown, and sometimes blue. The surface is velvety. The white inner flesh is rubbery, and the underside is covered in tiny, shallow pores. They typically grow in rows in overlapping shelves.

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