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Hen of The Woods Mushroom

Hen of The Woods

The Hen of The Woods is a large edible mushroom that is highly regarded for its edible and medicinal value. When mature it can spell fowl but it has a very pleasant smell when ripe for foraging. 

 

Commonly called Hen of The Woods, the Japanese call it Maitake while others know it as sheepshead or hen of the forest. 

Common Names

Hen of The Woods

Hen of The Forest

Sheepshead Mushroom

Maitake

Scientific Name

Grifola frondosa

Foraging Season

August to November

Identification

The Hen of The Woods is a polypore mushroom, meaning it doesn’t have any gills. It can be tough to spot and very elusive but worth the effort. Only around for a very short time, the Hen of The Woods can smell bad when mature but has a pleasant smell when young. 

 

Habitat

To look for the Hen of The Woods you will need to find a park or forest with oak trees. As the Hen is a parasitic mushroom where you find one you are likely to find a lot more. If you spot one oak tree with one then you are likely to see a lot more close by. 

 

Lookalikes

The Black Staining Polypore can be confused with the Hen of The Woods, thankfully to those who do mistake them both are edible and not poisonous.