Fungus Friday: Laetiporus conifericola

Welcome to the first in a special series of Foliage Fridays called Fungus Friday!

This past week, Nate and I went hiking in the Tillamook Forest, a temperate rainforest between Portland and the Oregon Coast, about 45 minutes from my house. We were hoping to find some chanterelle mushrooms, but mostly, I just wanted to find and identify as many mushrooms as I could. We found maybe ten different kinds of mushrooms. The first one I identified is Laetiporus conifercola.

**All mushroom identities are putative. No mushrooms were consumed**

Laetiporus conifercola is a look-alike species to L. sulphureus also known as Chicken of the Woods or Chicken Mushrooms. Chicken of the Woods prefers to grow on hardwoods like oak in the Eastern US and Eastern Canada, whereas L. conifercola grows (as the name suggests) on conifers in the Pacific Northwest.

One mushroom book I have says it is “presumed poisonous.” Wikipedia says it is edible, although some people have reported have gastrointestinal distress after eating it.

L. conifercola can get large (several inches across) and is bright orange in color with a yellow surface underneath. It is in the polypore family – a group of fungi that have pores or tubules on the undersurface.

They are also known as shelf fungi because of the way they grow like large shelves off of trees.

I’m 99% sure that I’ve correctly identified this mushroom, but if someone out there disagrees with me, let me know! Mushroom identification is not easy. I’m starting with an easy one, but there were a few mushrooms that we found, that I’m still not sure what they are…..stay tuned.

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