Searching for wild ‘Hen of the Woods’ mushrooms in Tennessee

As you enjoy the beautiful colors of Fall this year you may notice several varieties of wild mushrooms growing at the base of some large hardwood trees in Tennessee. One mushroom in particular we need your help finding is called “Hen of the Woods,” or Maitake (Grifola Frondosa).

If you find one of these beautiful native mushrooms, and you live within about 75-100 miles of our organic farm in Woodbury, TN, we’d love to come visit and take tissue samples to replicate in our farm’s mushroom lab.

What to look for: The huge 9 lbs. Maitake pictured here was found on our property October 22, 2012 at the base of a large oak tree. You can find them either at the base of oaks and other hardwoods or running along large surface roots fanning out from the tree. They usually return year after year (learn more).

What we’ll do: we will bring a small lab kit to sample the tissue, replicate the mycelium in a petri dish and then spawn the culture samples into various growth mediums including sawdust and pegs for logs. If you find one, call us at 615-469-7778. We will only positively identify this variety of mushroom in person, but close-up photos emailed to us can help us decide whether to make the trip.

If you are interested in growing your own Shiitake or Maitake mushrooms on logs at home, send us a short message to receive future notifications on scheduled workshops or availability of spawn pegs and inoculated logs from Half Hill Farm.

Read more: Paul Stammets has a nice article that includes excellent research on Maitake mushrooms and its medicinal value, in particular for Type 2 Diabetes. Below is the nutritional value of Maitake mushrooms excerpted from the article.

  • 377 calories per 100 grams dry weight
  • 25 percent protein
  • 3-4 percent fats (1 percent polyunsaturated fat; 2 percent total unsaturated fat; 0.3 percent saturated fat)
  • ≈60 percent carbohydrates (41 percent are complex carbohydrates)
  • ≈28 percent fiber
  • 0 percent cholesterol
  • B vitamins (mg/100 g): niacin (64.8); riboflavin (2.6 mg); and pantheonic acid (4.4 mg)
  • High concentration of potassium: 2,300 mg/100 g (or 2.3 percent of dry mass!)

3 thoughts on “Searching for wild ‘Hen of the Woods’ mushrooms in Tennessee

  1. I would like to send you a jpg of the fungi on our oak tree that fell 3 years ago. it looks like ruffled shingles all along the oak trunk that is still lying on the ground…….if these aren’t edible, can I remove them and find a source for miataki or shitaki mushroom spores and grow our own on the oak we have from the tornado’s that came through Trenton, Tennessee 3 years ago? My husband is type 2 diabetic and we both love “mushhogs” (he’s English) Thank you for getting back to me!

  2. Maddie, thanks for stopping by! You can send photos to halfhillfarm@gmail.com, but we generally do not identify mushrooms by photo.

    If you want to cultivate your own mushrooms, you will need to use an oak log that has been cut no more than a month or two ago. Once native fungi set up and begin producing in a log, it is difficult to impossible to inoculate with a different variety.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>