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Hen-of-the-woods-Grifola frondosa

Hen-of-the-woods

Grifola frondosa, commonly known as hen-of-the-woods or maitake, is an edible mushroom that’s a favorite of mushroom hunters.
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Growth

Hen-of-the-woods is a polypore — a type of fungus that has small pores covering its underside.
They grow on the bases of trees in shelf-like clusters, favoring hardwoods like oak. These clusters resemble the tail feathers of a sitting hen — hence the name “hen-of-the-woods.” Several hen-of-the-woods may grow on a single tree (1).
This mushroom is native to China but also grows in Japan and North America, especially the northeastern United States. It’s a perennial mushroom and often grows in the same spot for many years.

Identification

Hen-of-the-woods are grayish-brown in color, while the underside of the caps and branch-like stalk are white, though coloring can vary.
These mushrooms are most commonly found in the fall, but they can be found less frequently in the summer months as well.
Hen-of-the-woods can grow quite large. Some mushroom hunters have scored massive mushrooms weighing up to 50 pounds (about 23 kg), but most weigh 3–15 pounds (1.5–7 kg).
A helpful clue when identifying hen-of-the-woods is that it does not have gills, and the underside of its cap has tiny pores, which are smallest at the edges.
Don’t eat older specimens that are orange or reddish in color, as they may be contaminated with bacteria or mold.
Hen-of-the-woods is often favored by beginner mushroom hunters. It’s distinctive and does not have many dangerous look-alikes, making it a safe option for novices.

Nutrition

Hen-of-the-woods are quite nutritious and particularly high in the B vitamins folate, niacin (B3), and riboflavin (B2), all of which are involved in energy metabolism and cellular growth.
This mushroom also contains powerful health-promoting compounds, including complex carbohydrates called glucans.
Glucans isolated from hen-of-the-woods have been shown to have immune-boosting properties in animal studies.
What’s more, research shows that these mushrooms may have anticancer, cholesterol-reducing, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Hen-of-the-woods have a savory, rich flavor and are delicious when added to stir-fries, sautées, grain dishes, and soups.



SUMMARYPopular among novice mushroom hunters, hen-of-the-woods are commonly found growing at the base of an oak tree. They are grayish-brown in color and resemble the ruffled tail feathers of a sitting hen.

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Hen-of-the-woods-Grifola frondosa Hen-of-the-woods-Grifola frondosa Reviewed by Biobritte Agro on July 24, 2019 Rating: 5
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