Over the weekend a snazzy convertible with a couple in it stopped in front of our west yard border and seemed to be pointing and staring at something.
We have typical plants in the shady border — hosta, astilbe, peonies, among others.
Charlie labeled them “Sunday cruisers” and I left it at that until I looked at what they had seen in our yard.
The most fabulous fungus is growing near the street. It’s bright orange (my photos don’t do it justice) and about a foot in diameter.
After googling “orange fungus” I determined this mushroom is called “chicken of the woods,” probably laetiporus cincinnatus. It’s totally edible: the taste and texture is that of chicken. Some people even liken it to crab or lobster and can be used as a meat substitute in almost any dish.
My research warned to always cook it and start with just a few bites as it sometimes causes gastric distress in certain people. Also always avoid chicken of the woods growing on conifers, eucalyptus, or cedar trees, as these are reported to contain toxins that can make people sick. (Ours is growing at the foot of an oak tree stump.)
Laetiporus cincinnatus (right) – Also found in Eastern North America, although this species is often more reddish.
Chicken of the Woods identification is easy, thus they’re considered one of the “safe” mushrooms for beginners but I’m not planning to eat this one.
If you want all the details check out Mushroom-Appreciation.com.
Do you forage?