Chaga

(Inonotus obliquus)

Conservation Status
Chaga
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

not listed

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Chaga is an easily recognized and often sought after fungus. It is found year round almost exclusively on the trunk of living paper birch and yellow birch trees. It also occurs on alder, beech, oak, and poplar, but does not produce the characteristic large outgrowth on those species.

Fungal spores enter the living tree through wounds, especially branch stubs. The fungus is parasitic at this stage, obtaining its nutrients from the tree, and non-reproductive. It produces an irregular black mass (conk) that erupts through the bark and looks like charcoal. The conk is 4 to 16 long and wide and up to 2 thick. The surface is dry, hard, and broken into cubes. Over time it becomes sunken in the middle. The interior flesh, if exposed, is tough, woody, and bright orangish-brown.

Eventually, after 10 to 80 or more years, the infection will kill the tree. When that happens, the fungus produces a patch of whitish, fertile, fruiting bodies underneath the bark. At this stage the fungus us saprobic, obtaining its nutrients from decaying wood.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Paper birch and yellow birch

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Year round

 
     
 
Use
 
 

Tea made from Chaga is purported to reduce inflammation, stimulate the immune system, protect the liver, and even to prevent and treat cancer. None of these effects have been confirmed in the laboratory. Like many alternative remedies, its effectiveness is probably directly proportional to the strength of user’s belief first that it will work and later that it has worked.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.

 
  6/9/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)  
 

Order

Hymenochaetales  
 

Family

Hymenochaetaceae  
 

Genus

Inonotus  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Chaga

Chaga Mushroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Conk

A shelf-like, bracket-shaped fruiting body of certain fungi.

 

Parasitic

Obtaining nutrients from another living organism.

 

Saprobic

Obtaining nutrients from non-living organic matter, such as decaying plant or animal matter.

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this fungus.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.
 
 

 

 
 

Chaga mushroom?

I've looked before, but this would be my first finding of Chaga.

  Chaga  
           
    Chaga   Chaga  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    Chaga   Chaga  

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
 
     
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this fungus.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.
 
 

 

 
     
     
       
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Foraging for Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) - www.returntonature.us
ReturntoNatureSkills
 
   
 
About

Published on Feb 20, 2015

Heres a video on chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus) highlighting identification aspects, ethical harvesting considerations, and aspects of its ecological signature, as well as medicinal and survival aspects of this wonderful mushroom.

For more videos, articles, upcoming classes, and information visit www.returntonature.us and www.facebook.com/returntonatureskills

For studies and research on the medicinal properties of chaga:
As an antioxidant : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037887410400457X
Immunomodulating properties: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inonotus_obliquus#cite_note-research-immuno-7
Anticancer actions of Chaga: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/chaga-mushroom

   
  Inonotus obliquus (Chaga): a mushroom threatened by commercial overharvesting ?
Paul Stamets
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 30, 2011

Chaga (Inonotus oblquus) grows slowly on beech and birch trees over many years. Chaga is a non-sporulating (non-fertile) hardened structure with a dark, cracked over-crust. Some mycologists call Chaga an above-ground sclerotium. Chaga grows on living trees, taking many years for a soft-ball size structure to form. Once the tree dies, a resupinate crust forms on the ground near the tree. This is the spore-reproducing structure. What scientists do not know is whether or not the removal of Chaga will harm the formation of the spore producing crust. We do know that wild harvesting of Chaga is radically reducing this species populations. And since we can grow mycelium -sustainably- while retaining its beneficial properties, please refrain from harvesting wild chaga for commercial purposes. Thank you. Respectfully, Paul Stamets (www.fungi.com)

   
  Chaga Mushroom ( Inonotus obliquus) in Singhampton, Ontario 2015
FISHWILD
 
   
 
About

Published on Dec 23, 2015

Found a beautiful Chaga Mushroom on a White Birch. This is one of the most medicinal mushrooms out there. Use it to make tea.

   
  Chaga Mushroom - Inonotus obliquus
mlaskie
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 28, 2016

Description

   

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this fungus.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Luciearl
9/25/2018

Location: Cass County

I've looked before, but this would be my first finding of Chaga.

Chaga  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 9/27/2018

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2022 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.