Botanical Name: Trametes vesicolor
- English: versicolor, Wild Turkey, Yun Zhi
- Also, known as: Coriolus versicolor, Polyporus
Parts Used: Mushroom
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Turkey Tail Mushrooms are one of the most common mushrooms in the forest, and they grow all around the world. They grow on almost any type of wood, and there are no known poisonous look-alikes. Yet they’re also one of the most expensive medicinal mushrooms to buy. The high price tag is not because they’re difficult to forage, but driven by the fact that they have so many astounding medicinal benefits.
Most people are a bit intimidated by foraging their own medicinal mushrooms, and they’re willing to defer to others, even if it means paying a steep price for the privilege. Turkey Tail mushrooms are known by three different scientific names: Trametes versicolor, Coriolus versicolor, and Polyporus versicolor. All three Latin names for turkey tail mushrooms refer to the same common medicinal mushroom. The Chinese call them Yun Zhi (cloud fungus) and the Japanese call them Kawaratake (mushroom by the riverbank).
WHERE TO FIND TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOMS
One of the best things about foraging turkey tails is they’re available year-round, and they can be found just about anywhere in the world. They usually grow on dead hardwood stumps and downed hardwood trunks or branches. On occasion, they’ll even grow on conifers.
On our land, they seem to prefer decaying ironwood logs in wet places. When a dead/rotten ironwood falls in the woods, we’ll even carry it to a wet spot that tends to accumulate a bit of standing water after rains. In a few years, they’ll be covered with turkey tails. This is pretty rudimentary “field cultivation” but apparently turkey tail mushrooms are very easy to cultivate. There are detailed instructions on growing turkey tails in both Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (by Paul Stamets) and Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation (by Tradd Cotter).
Turkey Tail Mushrooms (Trametes versicolor)
IDENTIFYING TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOMS
Turkey tail mushrooms have a surprising number of look-alikes, but with close inspection, you should be able to identify the true turkey tail. Turkey tail mushrooms are a polypore, meaning that it has pores on the underside like several other medicinal mushrooms including reishi and tinder polypore.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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This information has not been evaluated by Health Canada.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.