Turkey-tails                                                                  Trametes versicolor

Description:  Usually many overlapping caps attached to dead wood. Fan-shaped caps have multi-coloured zones and a leathery texture. Whitish pores underneath.

Season:  Annual, fruiting yearly from spring to fall and sometimes lasting several seasons.

Habitat:  Woodrotter can be found on deadwood, logs, stumps and on living wounds of mainly deciduous tree's.

Edibility:  Not eaten as a food source but used for centuries as a medicinal mushroom. It can be dried, powdered and taken in capsules or boiled in soup's and tea's and is one of the most widely used immune-bolstering anti-cancer agents in Japan. It contains active protein-bound PSK (polysaccharide Kureha) and about 1/4 of Japans national expenditure for anticancer agents is on PSK. Studies indicate it has antiviral benefits and and may help inhibit HIV infection. It also works directly on cancer cells to boost cellular immunity. In Chinese medicine it is used to heal pulmonary/respiratory disorders and generally strengthen the body.

Comments:  Turkey tails are known in China as Yun Zhi, the 'Cloud Mushroom'. In Japan they are 'Mushroom-by-the-river',  Kawaratake. They are very common and easy to identify and occur throughout the entire world. The many remarkable medicinal claims are backed up by years of scientific study. It is the most potent and best studied of all the medicinal mushrooms and an approved anti-cancer drug. The dried caps are also traditionally used as necklaces and ornaments.


Cap:  2.5 - 10cm fan shaped and flat to wavy with a wavy margin. Muti-colour3ed zones alternate between hairy and smooth. Colours are highly variable but usually lots of earth tone browns and grays. Caps are latterly attached to wood by a narrow attachment area.   They grow as brackets in overlapping rows or circular rosettes. Flesh is leathery when fresh, near rigid when dry and older. Older turkey tails turn grayish.

Pores:   Angular, white to yellowish.

Flesh:  1 - 2mm thin, white and tough.

Spores:  5 - 6  X  1.5 - 2.2 µ   Cylindrical, smooth and leaving a white print.