From The Plant Encyclopedia
5 - 15
- Cultivation: Naturalizing
- Light: Shade
- Soil: Rich
- pH: 1, 4
- Moisture: Wet, Medium, Well-Drained
- Form: Herbaceous
- Habit: Perennial
- Uses: Edible, Medicinal
Laetiporus sulphureus is a Species of Bracket fungus (fungus which grows on trees) found in Europe and North America. Its Common names are sulphur polypore, sulphur shelf, and chicken mushroom. Its fruiting bodies grow as striking golden-yellow shelf-like structures on tree trunks and branches. Like other bracket fungi, they may last many years and fade to a more pale grey or brown. The undersurface of the fruiting body is made up of tubelike pores rather than gills.
Laetiporus sulphureus is a saprophyte, and causes brown cubical rot in the Heartwood of trees on which it grows. Unlike many bracket fungi, it is edible when young.
The cap is small and knob shaped, overlapping in an irregular pattern. Wide, shaped like a fan, and directly attached to the trunk of a tree, it has a shelf-like appearance and is sulfur-yellow to bright orange in colour and a suedelike texture. When it is old, the cap fades to tan or white. The shelves often grow in overlapping clumps, and each one may be anywhere from 5 to 60 cm (2 to 24 in) in diameter and 4 cm (1.4 in) thick. The fertile surface is sulfur-yellow with small pores or tubes and has a white Spore print.
Distribution and habitat
Laetiporus sulphureus is widely distributed across Europe and North America, although may be restricted to east of the Rockies.
The mushroom grows on dead or mature Hardwoods such as Oak, cherry, or Beech from August through October or later, sometime as early as June. The species can also be found under Conifers. It can usually be found growing in clusters.
Guinness world record
A specimen weighing 100 pounds was found in the New Forest, Hampshire, United Kingdom on October 15, 1990.<ref>Glenday, Craig (2009). Guinness World Records 2009. Random House, Inc.. ISBN 9780553592566. http://books.google.com/books?id=aHYt0RNSDfgC&pg=PA209&dq=Laetiporus+sulphureus&lr=&ei=Go2CS_utE4moM5ehmOoP&cd=47#v=onepage&q=Laetiporus%20sulphureus&f=false. </ref>
Young specimens are edible if a large, clear watery liquid comes out of it. The mushroom should not be eaten raw. Deer like to eat the mushroom.<ref>Rost, Amy (2007). Survival Wisdom & Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Thrive in the Wilderness. Black Dog Publishing. pp. 149. ISBN 9781579127534. http://books.google.com/books?id=a4Lvmt8VZY4C&pg=PA149&dq=Laetiporus+sulphureus&lr=&ei=XB2DS9iMGo30Mqab-ekP&cd=22#v=onepage&q=Laetiporus%20sulphureus&f=false. </ref>
Some people have had Gastrointestinal upset after eating this mushroom.<ref name="Color" />
Studies have shown severe adverse reactions in about 10% of the population, including vomiting and fever.
The mushroom produces the Laetiporus sulphureus Lectin (LSL) which has Hemolytic and hemagglutination activities. Hemolytic lectins are sugar-binding proteins that lyse and agglutinate cells. The hemagglutination and hemolytic activity are started by binding Carbohydrates.
The most dependable and rapid production of this mushroom is cultivation of it indoors. The mushroom does not require the heat and water that gilled mushrooms do. The mushroom is sensitive to Carbon dioxide levels and light condition. Many cultivators use controlled environment.
An Israeli mycologist introduced Chicken of the Woods mushroom to agriculture. The scientist picked the wild mushroom in his village, positively identified the species and realized the commercial potential. After three years of research he successfully developed a cultivation protocol and a dedicated substrate for cultivation in agricultural setups. The protocol includes information about the temperature, humidity and lighting conditions required for optimal fruiting, as well as the composition of the substrate from available commercial resources. The mushroom is cultivated using the plastic bag method or in automated technique using the bottle method. The mushroom can be cultivated for the general markets, or certified organic. This is the only company in the world that cultivates this mushroom in the bag cultivation method. The researcher has also developed a Champagne glass form of the mushroom, which is not found in nature. This shape can be further exploited by gourmet chefs.