Hen of the Woods

Grifola frondosa

Appears in

By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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Hen of the Woods Grifola frondosa (Dicks.) Gray (illustrated (c) 20% life size) Fruit body 15–40cm across, subglobose, consisting of a central, repeatedly branching stem, the branches ending in flattened, tongue-shaped caps, each 4–10cm across, 0.5–1cm thick, wavy at the margin; grey or olivaceous, drying brownish; leathery, the upper surface usually wrinkled. Stem cream or pale greyish. Flesh white; taste pleasant when young and fresh but soon acrid, smell reminiscent of mice. Tubes 2–3mm long, decurrent far down the stem; whitish. Pores 2 per mm, subcircular to slightly angular, larger and more irregular on the stem. Spores 5.5–7×3.5–4.5¼, elliptical. Hyphal structure monomitic; generative hyphae with clamp connections. Habitat parasitic on broad-leaved trees, especially on oak and beech, fruiting at the extreme base of the trunk; autumn. Frequent. Edible.