Finding and Eating Chicken of the Woods

Dan This Land of Ours

Cathy Isom has some tips on finding an absolutely beautiful mushroom that’s also good to eat. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.




One of the most spectacular wild mushrooms is the Chicken of the Woods. Usually found from late summer into early fall – nature lovers find this polypore easy to spot because of its impressive size and vibrant yellow-orange colors. They can be found growing on wood, either on or at the base of dead or dying trees, particular hardwoods like oak, cherry, and beech. They can be found on eucalyptus and conifers.


Sulfur Colored Chicken of the Woods
Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

Chicken of the Woods has a lemony, meaty taste. Some say it tastes like chicken, while others might describe it as having a crab or lobster-like flavor. For the most part, people don’t have any problems eating chicken of the woods; however, for a few, as with any food, this mushroom can cause stomach problems. When eating any wild mushroom, it’s good practice, a rule really, to eat only a little at first and wait 48 hours to make sure you aren’t one of the few unlucky folks. It’s also important to know that all wild mushrooms need to be cooked.

I’m Cathy Isom…

from Edible Wild Food/Chicken of the Woods

Do not eat any fungi that have not been properly identified by a qualified professional, some are DEADLY when ingested. All edible wild fungi MUST be cooked.

Caution: Do not consume any chicken of the woods unless you harvested it from a deciduous tree. Those growing on yews, conifers or eucalyptus may absorb some of their oils which can cause serious distress.

Image credit: (top left) Chicken of the Woods mushroom/Flickr.
(bottom right) Sulfur Colored Chicken of the Woods/Missouri Department of Conservation