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Posts Tagged ‘Chicken of the Woods’

As I was walking along one of the trails recently at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, my eyes were drawn to the bright orange of a patch of fungus. Orange is one of the colors that I tend to associate with autumn and with holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, so I was feeling very seasonal. I do not know my fungi very well, but I think that this might be Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus).

From what I have read, this mushroom can be used as a substitute for chicken and can be sautéed, deep fried, baked, and used in soups. I prefer to enjoy its beauty with my eyes only—the consequences of eating the wrong mushroom can be pretty dire.

The third image gives you an overall view of the mushroom “patch.” However, I had a macro lens on my camera, so I had fun exploring the different elements of the scene. The first image reminds me of Halloween candy corn, a traditional candy that most people either love or hate. In the second image, I was attracted to the circular rows of water droplets that paralleled the rings of colors of the mushroom.

Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I think of mushrooms, I usually imagine tiny, pale specimens growing in dark places close to the ground. I was startled, therefore, when I encountered this big, bold bright orange mushroom in plain view. The color was so vivid that I spotted it from a long way off and couldn’t help thinking at first that it looked like a smashed pumpkin.

It didn’t take too much searching on the internet to find this mushroom—its scientific name is Laetiporus sulphureus, but it is commonly known as the Chicken of the Woods mushroom. There are lots of recipes available for this edible mushroom, which can be sautéed, deep fried, baked, and may be used in soups.

I’m a chicken, though; when it comes to eating questionable things and don’t think I’d ever eat a mushroom that I encountered in the wild. The beautiful colors of this mushroom include the shades that I associate with autumn, which lets me enjoy it with my eyes, even if I won’t be putting it in my mouth.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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