Chicken of the Woods

(Laetiporus sulphureus)

Conservation Status
Chicken of the Woods
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

not listed

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Chicken of the Woods is a large, common, widespread, fleshy, bracket (shelf-like) fungus. It is one of the “Foolproof Four”, the four most easily identified mushrooms. It is usually saprobic, on decaying stumps and logs, but is sometimes parasitic, on the sides of injured trees. It enters the tree through a wound and infects the heartwood causing brown rot.

It is usually found well above the ground on living or dead, standing oaks, or on fallen oaks, sometimes on other hardwoods. It is usually found in overlapping clusters, sometimes singly, sometimes a rosette on the top side of a downed log. The thin, white mycelium can sometimes be seen in cracks of the wood.

The fruiting body is annual. There is no stem. When it first appears in late summer or fall it is knob-like, but it soon becomes shelf-like. It consists of an overlapping cluster or rosette of several to many brackets and can be up to 23½ wide.

Each bracket is fan-shaped to semicircular in outline, more or less flat but lumpy and uneven on top, convex on the bottom, usually 2″ to 20″ wide, and up to 1½ thick. Larger brackets can be up to 27½ wide. The surface is smooth to suede-like and often finely wrinkled. On younger brackets the upper side is bright reddish-orange to bright orange, yellowish-orange, or salmon. As it ages it fades to yellowish or buff. Older brackets are whitish. The margin on younger brackets is thick, blunt, and usually yellow.

The flesh of young brackets is thick, soft, watery, white to pale yellow, sometimes tinged with salmon. As it ages the flesh becomes tough then crumbly.

The pore tubes on the underside of the bracket are yellow and up to 3 16 deep. There are 2 to 4 pores per millimeter. The spores are yellow.

Young, fresh brackets grown on oak are edible when cooked. On older brackets, only the outer, still growing edge is edible.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  White-Pored Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus cincinnatus) grows on the ground at the base of oak trees, not on stumps, logs, or the sides of living trees.  
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Hardwood forests on oak and other hardwoods

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late summer and fall

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  9/28/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Polyporales (shelf fungi)  
  Family Laetiporaceae  
  Genus Laetiporus  
       
 

In 1998, a study (Banik, Mark T., Harold H. Burdsall, Jr. and Thomas J. Volk. 1998) showed Laetiporus sulphureus to be a species complex and split it into five species. The new Laetiporus sulphureus, the “true” Chicken of the Woods, is the species that has yellow pores; grows on the butt of a standing tree or on downed logs; is usually overlapping shelves but may be a rosette on the top side of a downed log; occurs east of the Great Plains; and is always on hardwoods, usually on oak.

The genus Laetiporus was formerly placed in the family Polyporaceae. Several DNA studies of fungi in the order Polyporales since 2005 have resulted in the reordering of the families within the order. There is no current consensus. The genus Laetiporus is variously placed in the families Polyporaceae, Laetiporaceae, and Fomitopsidaceae. Most agree that it should be separated from the order Polyporaceae.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Laetiporus sulfureus

Polyporus sulphureus

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Chicken of the Woods

Sulphur Shelf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Mycelium

The vegetative part of a fungus; consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae, through which a fungus absorbs nutrients from its environment; and excluding the fruiting, reproductive structure.

 

Saprobic

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

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Luciearl

 
 

Looking up at this, I thought it was chicken of the woods, but it was bright yellow, not orange. Found on live oak tree.

 
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
 

Kristen

 
 

Found this in my backyard in Bemidji.

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
 

Ronda Jean

 
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
 

Suzanne Gordon

 
 

My 11 year old son, Owen found this growing in our woods in Ham Lake!

 
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
           
    Chicken of the Woods      
 

Richard Barnes

 
 

… very delicious !!

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
 

Bart Olson

 
 

It is growing on an oak tree in Outing, Minnesota.

 
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
 

Ramona Abrego

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
 

Jill Jacobson

 
 

found these in our backwoods. From what we collected it weighed 37.75lbs

 
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
           
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
           
    Chicken of the Woods      
           
 

Very pretty looking.

 
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
 

Cynthia R. Niesen

 
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
 

Art

 
  Found a large bunch of Chicken of the Woods mushroom today. Probably 15 to 20 pounds on this one tree. Was really surprised because of the cool wet weather we've had.   Chicken of the Woods  
 

Robert Briggs

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
 

Hong

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
 

Kiddiefondue

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
 

Wayne Perala

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
 

Rachel Anding

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
 

Kirk Nelson

 
 

False Turkey Tail and Chicken of the Woods, 9/5/2016

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
           
 

Seen just off the trail across the road from Snelling Lake

 
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
 

James Folden

 
    Chicken of the Woods      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  
           
    Chicken of the Woods   Chicken of the Woods  

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Sulphur Shelf Mushroom
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Sulphur Shelf Mushroom  
 
About

also called Chicken Mushroom or Polyporus sulphureus.

 

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Chicken of the Woods - Laetiporous sulphureus
sporeprints
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Feb 24, 2009

Tradd finds a nice colorful chicken of the woods, that will get cooked up later in a delicious recipe later. And off course it will get cloned.

   
  Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) on Tree
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 20, 2010

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (19 September 2010). Go here to learn more about this species: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/laetiporus_sulphureus.html

   
  Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) Close-up
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 17, 2010

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (12 September 2010). Go here to learn more about this species: http://www.eol.org/pages/191234

   
  Laetiporus sulphureus, The Sulfur Shelf or Chicken Mushroom
Robert Klips
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 27, 2011

Sunflecks and insects move across Laetiporus sulphureus, The Sulfur Shelf or Chicken Mushroom at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Summit County, Ohio, USA.

   
  HARVESTING AND COOKING "CHICKEN OF THE WOODS":SULFER SHELF MUSHROOM
sousaville
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 10, 2012

A NOVICE MUSHROOMERS SEARCH FOR SULPHER SHELF MUSHROOMS... AKA "CHICKEN OF THE WOODS"....THE FAMOUS POLYPORE.....Laetiporus sulphureus...EASILY IDENTIFIED ,NO POISON LOOK ALIKES....BUT IT IS RECOMMENDED NOT TO BE EATENED OFF OF LOCUST....EUCALYPTUS...AND CONIFERS...SO DO YOUR RESEARCH...WHEN IN DOUBT...THROW IT OUT....SAFE TRAILS

   

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this fungus.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Apricity Apricity
Fall 2021

Location: Martin County, Fairmont, MN

 
  Kristen
9/26/2021

Location: Bemidji, Beltrami County

Found this in my backyard in Bemidji.

Chicken of the Woods  
  Luciearl
9/21/2021

Location: Lake Shore, MN

Looking up at this, I thought it was chicken of the woods, but it was bright yellow, not orange. Found on live oak tree.

Chicken of the Woods  
  John Valo
10/4/2021

It is only the underside (pore surface) on fresh specimens that is bright lemon yellow.

 
  Ronda Jean
7/23/2021

Location: Coon Rapids, Anoka County

Chicken of the Woods  
  Suzanne Gordon
7/1/2021

Location: Ham Lake, MN

My 11 year old son, Owen found this growing in our woods in Ham Lake!

Chicken of the Woods  
  Bart Olson
8/12/2020

Location: Outing, Minnesota

It is growing on an oak tree in Outing, Minnesota.

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Richard Barnes
5/20/2020

Location: Waseca County

… very delicious !!

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Jill Jacobson
8/31/2019

Location: Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

found these in our backwoods. From what we collected it weighed 37.75lbs

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Jill Jacobson
8/29/2019

Location: in the Ogema area

Very pretty looking.

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Ramona Abrego
5/22/2019

Location: Washington County

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Cynthia R.
Niesen

7/20/2018

Location: Houston County Minnesota

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Chet Porter
7/5/2018

Location: lions park sauk centre

large find all over

 
  Tim
5/30/2017

Location: in the City park in Eagle Lake

sorry, no photo. Very large bloom on stump. Probably four to five ice cream pails worth.

 
  Art
5/29/2017

Location: just north of Milaca, Minnesota

Found a large bunch of Chicken of the Woods mushroom today. Probably 15 to 20 pounds on this one tree. Was really surprised because of the cool wet weather we've had.

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Robert Briggs
9/24/2016

Location: Lebanon Hills Park, Eagan MN

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Hong
9/16/2016

Location: Wilmes Lake, Woodbury MN

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Kirk Nelson
9/5/2016

Location: Lebanon Hills Regional Park

False Turkey Tail and Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Kiddiefondue
8/19/2016

Location: Zimmerman, MN. Girl Scout Elk River Campground

Chicken of the Woods

 
  Wayne Perala
8/18/2016

Location: Fergus Falls, MN

Chicken of the Woods

 
  name withheld
9/19/2015

Location: Father Hennepin State Park

Found near the lake in a very wet location. Tree too rotten for me to ID... Sorry!

 
  Kirk Nelson
8/22/2015

Location: Fort Snelling State Park, Hennepin County

Seen just off the trail across the road from Snelling Lake

Chicken of the Woods

 
  mojo.moto
6/24/2015

Location: Pope County

LOL..... uh...yep enjoyed them already this year in pope county.

 
  wityman
9/6/2014

Location: LeSueur County  by Lake Washington by the southwest boat access

See attached pic….it is very good sized.  The stump it formed on is from a tree that fell over in a storm in 2006.

Chicken of the Woods

 
           
 
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