Foraging for Fun: Types of Mushrooms That Grow on Trees

There are various types of mushrooms that grow on trees, often referred to as “tree mushrooms” or “wood-decaying mushrooms.” These mushrooms have a unique ecological role in breaking down and decomposing dead wood. Here are some common types:

1. Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum)

Artist’s Conk is a large, shelf-like mushroom that grows on the sides of trees. It has a distinct semi-circular shape with a brownish upper surface and a white pore surface underneath. It is often used for artistic purposes due to its ability to retain drawings and writings.

2. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)

Turkey Tail is a colorful mushroom with concentric rings of different colors resembling the pattern on a turkey’s tail. It typically grows in overlapping clusters on dead hardwood trees. It is known for its medicinal properties and is often used in traditional medicine.

3. Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus spp.)

Oyster mushrooms are a group of edible mushrooms that commonly grow on dead or dying hardwood trees. They have a distinct oyster-like shape with a delicate, fan-shaped cap. Oyster mushrooms are widely cultivated for culinary purposes due to their mild flavor and meaty texture.

4. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion’s Mane is a unique-looking mushroom with long, cascading, white tendrils that resemble a lion’s mane. It is typically found on dead or decaying hardwood trees, particularly beech and oak. Lion’s Mane is highly valued for its culinary and medicinal properties.

5. Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus)

Birch Polypore is a bracket fungus that grows exclusively on birch trees. It has a brownish upper surface and a white pore surface underneath. Birch Polypore has been used in traditional medicine and has a long history of human use.

6. Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus)

Shaggy Mane is a distinctive mushroom with a tall, cylindrical cap covered in shaggy scales. It often appears in groups and can be found growing on decaying wood, including tree stumps and fallen logs. Shaggy Mane mushrooms have a unique characteristic of “melting” into black ink-like liquid as they mature.

These are just a few examples of mushrooms that grow on trees. It’s important to note that while some of these mushrooms are edible and highly prized for culinary purposes, others may be toxic or inedible. Proper identification and caution are essential when foraging and consuming wild mushrooms.