Chicken of the Wood: Mycelium Fruit that is Food and Medicine

//Chicken of the Wood: Mycelium Fruit that is Food and Medicine

Chicken of the Wood: Mycelium Fruit that is Food and Medicine


Holly’s find…Chicken of the Wood

Permaculture Design looks to source trees and plants that can be found local to a property. Oftentimes edible plants grow on a property already, one just doesn’t know it.

Take for example “Chicken of the Wood” Mushroom (Laetiporus Sulphureus). Also know as “Sulphur Shelf” because of its color. Other monikers are Rooster Comb and Chicken Fungus in the USA, Polypore soufre (France), Schwefelporling (Germany) and of course other names in other parts of the world.

It grows all over. Much easier to find than the prized Morrell, Chicken of the Wood is great for beginner mushroom hunters because it has no close resemblance, toxic cousin to worry about, as is sometimes the case with mushrooms. It is really easy to see in the woods…its yellow and orange shelf structure does not really blend into the forest colors of summer. It might take a touch of bravery to harvest, cook and eat, as it looks like something scary…like a sea creature or alien life form from an old episode of Star Trek.

Rest assured, Chicken of the Wood is good for food, and it is, like many other plants, a medicine. More on that later. Chicken of the Wood can grow quite large and the largest on record was 100 pounds. Thats a lot of Chicken! It doesn’t really taste like Chicken, but it looks like and has texture like chicken, and when prepared like Chicken (we marinated and grilled it this evening…it was pretty much like grilled chicken).


Marinated and on the Grill!


Dinner is Served


We marinated the sliced mushroom in a way similar to how we do BBQ chicken, grilled it with onions and garlic over a medium heat on the Kamado cooker. It was delicious! It can be used like any other mushroom, like in soups, or sauces over pasta. Take it easy on the volume, some people get a little bit of tummy ache from the richness, and some people are actually allergic t0 mushrooms.

OK…like I said, its a medicine. Research has shown that Laetiporus Sulphureous has antimicrobial properties against the pathogen, Aspergillus flavus (Petrovic et al., 2013). It is also a great source of antioxidants, including quercetin, kaempferol, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid (Olennikov et al., 2011), and it contains lanostanoids – molecules that have the ability to inhibit cancerous growths (Rios et al., 2012). Last but certainly not least Laetiporus sulphureus has potent ability to inhibit the staph bacteria (Staphylococcus Aureus).

Food is medicine. We should eat in a way that brings health.

chickenofthewoodstopChicken of the Wood comes back year after year until the mycelium web that hosts the mushroom decomposes the rotting log. The mushroom hangs on a bit longer until all the nutrients have been taken from the new soil that remains. You don’t hurt things by harvesting the “fruit” as long as you cut it to harvest and leave the mycelium base.

Take a walk in the woods this weekend and  find your own! You’ll have a satisfaction that you are providing for yourself in a sustainable way



By | 2016-06-27T13:14:36+00:00 June 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Michael obtained his Permaculture Design Certification via Geoff Lawton, PRI, in 2013 , and had been a student of Permaculture Design independently for many years prior to obtaining the PDC. He is formerly trained in teaching Permaculture, and is a Graduate student in Agroforestry at the University of Missouri. His interest in Permaculture came through an interest in sustainable food production and a desire for nutrient rich foods. He is particularly interested in the value of food forests, perennial food production, and medicinal plants and herbs. Michael's experience as a licensed Financial Advisor and prior career in hospital administration and Human Resources have given him unique perspectives on the economics of Permaculture Design and the management of inputs. Michael is presently creating a demonstration site on acreage in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia (temperate climate). He is also looking to work in Aid work situations worldwide to further his experience in varied climates. His ultimate goal is to teach the PDC and Agroforestry domestically as well as abroad in developing countries where quality nutrition is not readily available. He is available as a permaculture design consultant and lecturer. His Bio here:

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