I’ve seen these mushrooms before and called them “little brown ruffles.” I was recently surprised to find them in the backyard and learned they are called Turkey Tail mushrooms (Trametes veriscolor).
Maxine Stone’s Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms and the Mushroom Expert were helpful in identifying them. The amusing name refers to the mushroom’s design and colors that resemble the tail of a strutting wild turkey.
Mushrooms seem magical and mysterious to me. They appear unexpectedly in all different places with different shapes, sizes, and colors. I’m intrigued by them but know very little about them.
I now know that Turkey Tail mushrooms are very common throughout the world. They usually grow on dead wood. These are growing on a stick of Dogwood from the tree we cut down last fall. They are edible and used in Chinese medicine. They are even being considered as a treatment for cancer.
According to Ms. Stone’s book, Turkey Tail mushrooms have pores instead of gills. When I checked the underside, I did indeed find pores and a different kind of beauty – click image for a closer view.
I’ve seen these mushrooms many times in the woods and it was a special treat to find them in our yard. I like knowing their name and learning a little bit about them, and having this connection to woods all over the world.