False Turkey Tail Mushroom

December 30, 2015

Turkeytail_chips2 (1)

Photographer: Tommy Hornbeck
Summary Author: Tommy Hornbeck

False turkey tail mushrooms (Stereum ostrea) are found in large, layered groups on stumps and logs of deciduous trees, especially oaks, and are extremely common throughout North America. This one was discovered near Nevada, Missouri. They're distinguished from turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) by the lack of pores on the underside if the cap, but are otherwise quite similar. The fruiting body can reach widths of 2-3 in (about 5-7 cm) and display zones of brown, red, orange, buff and, if algae are present, green, giving a good impression of a miniature turkey's tail.

These mushrooms exist as a network of fungal cells (mycelium) within rotting wood. The mycelium obtains nourishment by digesting, and rotting, the wood. When ready to reproduce, the mycelium develops the brackets outside the wood, which are reproductive structures. The mushrooms shown here exhibit quite a change in appearance in these photos, taken only three days apart.

Photo Details: Upper photo taken December 13, 2015; 1/40  sec. exposure; f/6.3; ISO 400; 58 mm lens. Lower photo taken December 16, 2015; 1/125 sec. exposure; f/11; ISO 400; 58 mm lens.