Laetiporus sulphureus

Laetiporus sulphureus
Image Courtesy of Emily Johnson
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Group of Fungi: Polypores

Family: Fomitopsidaceae

Latin Name: Laetiporus sulphureus (Bull.) Murrill.

Common Name: Chicken of the Woods

Description: Semicircular to fan-shaped structure, usually occurring in overlapping clusters; cap 2–12 in (5–30 cm) across and 3/8–1 5/8 in (1–4 cm) thick, orange-red to orange-yellow, upper surface smooth to slightly wrinkled; margin of cap wavy; pore-bearing surface bright sulphur-yellow, pores very small and difficult to see; spores white in mass.

Biological Role: Decomposer of wood but also can be considered as a pathogen when present on living trees.

Habitat: On living or dead still standing trees, fallen logs and stumps of broadleaf trees.

Geographical Distribution: Widely distributed throughout North America.

Comments: The relatively large size and bright colors of Laetiporus sulphureus make this fungus very easy to spot in nature. Laetiporus cincinnatus is very similar in appearance but is less common and has a white pore-bearing surface. When the fruiting bodies are still young, Laetiporus sulphureus is considered to be a choice edible. It actually tastes somewhat like chicken (hence the common name).

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