The Beginners Guide To Identifying Wild Turkey Tail Mushrooms In NZ
Turkey tail mushrooms are among the most common polypore fungi found in the wild almost anywhere in the world. They can grow on practically any kind of wood and have no known toxic look-alikes.
Its scientific name Trametes versicolor, which means "many colours", gives an apt description of its appearance. Turkey tail features stunning concentric rings of colour and will not fail to capture the attention of passers-by. When it comes to foraging turkey tail mushrooms in NZ, this specimen is relatively easy to find all year round. It is often found on decomposable hardwood logs in the forests. The only challenge when it comes to identification is that there are a surprising number of look-alikes. So we've composed this beginner's handy guide for identifying turkey tails mushrooms in the wild.
Flip The Underside To Identify Tiny Pores
The first step is to examine the underside of your suspected turkey tail mushroom to see if you can identify tiny pores. If you flip the underside and find the smooth surface, you may be looking at a "false turkey tail" or Stereum ostrae, a kind of crust fungus.
Closer Inspection And Measurement
Second, examine it more closely. To be regarded as true turkey tail mushrooms, the pores must be incredibly small, measuring 3-8 pores per millimetre. An easy method of measurement is with a ballpoint pen. If the tip of the pen covers at least three pores, you've probably got yourself a turkey tail.
Examine The Texture
The next step is to get a feel for the texture. True turkey tail mushrooms are thin and flexible, which indicates freshness. As mushrooms age, they become harder and more rigid. The underside has a distinct fuzzy, almost velvet texture to the touch.
Stark Contrasting Concentric Rings Of Colour
The last basic indicator for a turkey tail mushroom: The distinctive, stark contrasting concentric rings of colour on the cap, which has a leathery texture. Older turkey tail mushrooms begin featuring a green algae on the caps as they age.
The Immune-Boosting Essence Of The Turkey Tail Mushroom
Turkey tail is a medicinal fungus with an astounding array of benefits. It contains a number of potent antioxidants and compounds to strengthen immunity and balance bacteria in the gut, which makes it a highly effective immune support treatment to assist the body with fighting certain cancers.
In his book entitled Fungal Pharmacy, Robert Rogers describes turkey tail as a fungus whose essence "is for the eternal warrior, for those who need to ground their energies into the physical world and those who work with nature."
For those who want to experience the benefits of the incredible turkey tail mushroom in NZ for themselves, feel free to browse our online shop. Don't forget to subscribe to our 'spore drop' newsletter for more amazing articles, recipes and deals.