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Trametes versicolor:  Turkey TailThe Mushroom of the Month for March 2013 was

Trametes versicolor: Turkey Tail

Trametes versicolor aka Polyporus versicolor is a common, colorful polypore found throughout the world. The top of the cap of turkey tail is often quite colorful with distinct bands of several colors. Trametes versicolor’s common name comes from the resemblance of its banded, many-colored cap to a wild Turkey’s tail. Turkey tails are not edible as they are too leathery but they have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to brew a medicinal tea which is supposed to enhance one’s immune system. More recently an extract, Polysaccharide-K, has been used in China, Japan and some European counties to boost the immune system in the treatment of cancer.

Trametes versicolorThe fruiting body of the turkey tail is a thin, leathery and tongue-shaped when young becoming fan-shaped with age often growing in large overlapping tiered rosettes. Caps are finely zoned with concentric band of extremely variable colors. Colors can include white, gray, brown, yellowish-buff, bluish, reddish, rust and black; with age some zones can be green from algae growing on the surface of the cap. The caps range from 1 to 4 inches wide. The pore surface is white to yellowish becoming brownish to gray with age. The spore print is whitish.

While not an edible mushroom some of our members pick this mushroom to dry then powder for use in making medicinal teas.