The most crucial part of mushroom foraging in the field is correctly identifying the mushrooms. There are hundreds of different edible and therapeutic mushroom variations among the more than 14,000 recognised species of fungi worldwide. We need to be certain that these mushrooms are what we believe them to be in order to enjoy their advantages and delicious flavours. We’re going to examine the false turkey tail (Stereum ostrea) and the turkey tail mushroom (Tramates versicolor) in more detail today. After educating you on each mushroom, we’ll provide useful guidance on how to distinguish between them.
Turkey Tail Mushroom (Tramates versicolor)
The location of turkey tail growth is the first thing you should be aware of. This mushroom grows in almost every state in North America and is rather prevalent in the forests there. Turkey tail is also widely grown in Europe and Asia. A saprophyte is a turkey tail. A class of plants, fungi, and microorganisms known as saprophytes eats dead or dying materials. Saprophytes quicken the breakdown of the material they consume. Turkey tail grows on more than 70 different species of trees, though it favours hardwood trees. Hickory, maple, oak, poplar, chestnut, birch, ash, aspen, and elm are among them.
What’s in a Name?
An essential component in identifying mushrooms is their scientific nomenclature. In our observation of any species or subspecies in a genus, family, order, or class, they are also crucial. We may better identify and categorise the world around us with the aid of taxonomy. A taxonomy or scientific name may occasionally change. This is typically the result of our growing understanding of a species. Occasionally, new findings force us to reclassify, changing the term. At other times, the realisation comes that the species we are witnessing has already been expertly categorised.
Why is this relevant to a comparison of mushrooms and fungi in an article? The turkey tail, that is, has a new name. It should be noted that Coriolus versicolor was the prior classification for turkey tail. It’s Tramates versicolor now.Since Tramates versicolor is still commonly used to refer to Coriolus versicolor, you can use these names interchangeably.Tramates versicolor is the official scientific name for turkey tail, if you’d want to use that instead.
Identification of Turkey Tail
We distinguish between fungus and mushrooms according to a number of traits that they may or may not have. What are the cup’s dimensions and colour? Is there a stalk on it? What dimensions does the stalk have? Does it has pores or gills? What characteristics do the pores or gills have?
The turkey tail fungus has no stem. Rather, it clings to the tree or log it is growing from directly like a concave cup. These cups have concentric stripes of various colours on the outside and a width of up to four inches. The colours of the stripes are varied, encompassing shades of red, yellow, green, blue, brown, black, and white. The fungus’s deeper stripes are hidden by tiny hairs that are largely undetectable to the human eye. Turkey tail has a rough, leathery texture and is porous rather than gilled. Pores are evident on the underside of the fungus. Turkey tails belong to a class of fungus known as “polypores,” which includes those that have pores lining their cup’s bottom. Polypores are a crucial component of the nutrient cycling process during the breakdown of plant matter. They are almost invariably fungus rather than mushrooms.
Turkey tail growth is not solitary. Rather, thick clumps of the fungus surround logs and stumps with strong, thin leather braces. This simple identification guide can assist you in correctly identifying turkey tail.
1. The fungi ought to be thin, flexible, and leathery.
2. The upper side of the turkey tail should feel somewhat velvety to the touch.
3. The upper side should be covered in concentric bands in various colour tones.
4. The underside of the fungus should be whitish and porous.
Turkey Tail False (Stereum ostrea)
Golden curtain crust is another name for fake turkey tail. It is quite similar to real turkey tail, but it doesn’t have all of the same health benefits and physical characteristics. It’s not poisonous, which is wonderful news. If you mistakenly identify your turkey tail for something else, you won’t be in danger of being ill. Let’s look a little more closely to be sure that isn’t the case.
Stereum ostrea is a saprophyte, just like the turkey tail. Although it is content to eat other rotting hardwood trees, it prefers the decaying oak trees. Everywhere it spreads, it leaves behind white deposits that frequently resemble a thin layer of mould on the trees it breaks down. The colours of a false turkey tail are white, yellow, orange, brown, and red, with the colour of the tail being more red. A few counterfeit turkey tails have green coloration because of the formation of algae on the cap. Sometimes the fungus just has a few colour bands on the false turkey tail, but other times it exhibits these colours in concentric rings. Its fungal growth stage determines whether the fungus is extremely smooth or somewhat hairy. The artificial turkey tail gets smoother with age. On the rotting logs, branches, and stumps of deciduous trees, it grows in clusters. The breadth of each fake turkey tail cap varies from half an inch to around four inches.
Although false turkey tail isn’t toxic, it’s not thought to be tasty. It’s too tough and leathery to be worth eating, and it doesn’t have enough nutritional or therapeutic value.
Interesting fact: “Tough oyster” is how the scientific term for false turkey tail is roughly translated.
Ways to Spot a Fake Turkey Tail
Distinguishing real turkey tail from fake turkey tail can be challenging. These two types of fungi grow in groups or clusters, have colour rings around them, and are found on dead or dying hardwood. Nonetheless, there are still a few simple methods for telling them apart.
1. Examine the fungus from the bottom up. The fake turkey tail is impervious to porosity.Stereum ostrea has a smooth bottom that is occasionally highlighted by little wrinkles.
2. Unlike Tramates versicolor, which has a white colouring on its gilled underside, Stephaneum ostrea has a yellow or brown underside.
3. A fake turkey tail can spread up to 5–7 centimetres in breadth.
4. Is mostly red or brown, although occasionally orange in hue.
It’s not just Stereum ostrea that resembles a turkey tail. As we are contrasting two distinct fungi, we won’t delve into the features of these additional fungi. Alternatively, we’ve included a quick list of people who look like turkey tails. Not every turkey tail lookalike is on this list. Rather, it is helpful to identify a handful of fungi that are frequently confused with turkey tail.
Curtain bracket with hair (Stereum hirsutum)
The polypore with violet-toothed (Trichaptum biforme)
Bjerkandera adusta, or smoky polypore
Polypore thin maze (Daedaleopsis confragosa)
Schizophllum commune, split gill
While some of these mushrooms have therapeutic potential, the majority are not thought to be edible. The hairy curtain bracket, for instance, has some established antioxidant qualities in food. According to clinical trials, its mycelia exhibits an active antibacterial action against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Staphylococcus aureus when extracted with benzoate.Some hormone disrupting substances found in waste plastics have also been broken down with the aid of this intriguing fungus. It has the same property as the real turkey tail, and both have been shown to be useful in reducing toxicity in other bodies of water and cleaning up lake sediment.
Highlights and Table of Identification:
Today has taught us a great deal about two amazing saprophytic fungi that are widely distributed throughout the planet. Of course, the ability to distinguish between the two fungi we have examined is the most crucial lesson to learn. Comparing turkey tail with counterfeit turkey tail side by side is the simplest method. Because of this, we will use a useful table that highlights the main distinctions between these two polypores to summarise what we have learnt.
|Turkey tail (Tramates versicolor)
|1-4 inches in width.
|Concentric bands of red, yellow, green, blue, brown, black, and white.
|Flat or concave with wavy edges that resemble the tails of turkeys.
|Leathery and slightly velvety, with a porous underside.
|False turkey tail (Stereum ostrea)
|1/2 inch to 4 inches.
|Hues of white, yellow, orange, brown, and red. Sometimes coated green from algae growth.
|Semi-circular and irregular.
|Leathery and smooth or velvety, with a smooth or slightly wrinkled underside.