Foraging Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms

Chicken of the woods mushrooms are easy to identify, impossible to harvest unsustainably, are tasty in any mushroom dish!

| October 2016

Inexpensive, fun, and yielding delicious results, foraging for local, natural plants is gaining popularity across the nation. Experienced foraging guide Leda Meredith has written The Forager’s Feast (The Countryman Press, 2016) to break down everything you might need to know about the sensation. Learn to identify edible plants in the wild, how to harvest them without harming the growing plant, and try some original recipes while you’re at it!

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Forager’s Feast.

Chicken of the Woods/Sulphur Shelf

Laetiporus sulphureus

This is the gateway mushroom for many novice foragers. Bright yellow-orange and often growing halfway up a tree, it is easy to spot and hard to mistake for anything else. It is also one of the tastiest edible wild mushrooms when in good condition.


Although there are several shelf mushrooms foragers call “chicken,” including a mostly white one, Laetiporus sulphureus is the easiest to spot. It grows on oak and occasionally other hardwoods in eastern North America, primarily in summer and autumn, but occasionally in spring or winter as well. There are other similar looking and also edible Laetiporus mushrooms that grow in other parts of North America. The host trees vary from species to species. For instance, L. gilbertsonii is a West Coast species that grows on eucalyptus as well as oak.

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