Yes! Turkey tail is a very common and widespread fungus found across the United Kingdom. It is most commonly found growing on rotting woods throughout the year including in summer months and is easy to identify.
Where Can I Find Turkey Tail?
To find turkey tail you don’t have to go far into the woods or forests, I have found turkey tail growing out of wooden posts used for fencing inside of parks and fields. If you can find rotting or cut down wood you will be able to find turkey tail having a feast.
For example, in May I was walking through a popular London park when I spotted a fence post covered in Turkey Tail, after giving it a close examination to make sure I had identified it correctly I took a small sample to clone at home using my cloning box. I was pretty astonished to see Turkey Tail growing so brazenly out in the open and quickly started finding it all over the place!
How To Identify Turkey Tail.
Turkey tail forms a semi-circular “fan-shape” (which looks similar to its namesake) where the fruiting body emerges from the wood which it is feeding on. The caps are tough and thin with a porous underside for dispersing spores. Turkey Tail has visible concentric rings which come in a myriad of colours (brown, yellow, purple, blue, green, black). However, no matter the colour of the rings and body, there should always be a white or pale coloured line around the edge of the fruiting body.
Turkey Tail Benefits?
There are several benefits from consuming turkey tail which has been documented in medical journals.
- The fungus is packed with antioxidants including a wide variety of phenol and flavonoid antioxidants which help promote your immune system health by reducing inflammation and stimulating the release of protective compounds.
- It contains powerful polysaccharopeptides that may strengthen the health of your immune system.
- It contains components such as PSK and CVG that may suppress the growth of certain types of cancers
- Several research studies have demonstrated that turkey tail mushroom enhances the efficacy of both chemotherapy and radiation in people with certain cancers.
- Turkey tail mushroom may positively impact gut bacterial balance by enhancing the growth of beneficial bacteria while suppressing harmful species.
Is Turkey Tail Edible?
No, generally this mushroom is too tough to eat and lacks the flavour of gourmet mushrooms. However, teas and tonics have been made from the fruiting body for thousands of years. These have a range of medical benefits provided from its including, boosting the immune system and anticarcinogenic properties.
How Do You Make Turkey Tail Tea?
- Chop the desired amount of Turkey Tail into as small pieces as possible.
- Add Turkey Tail to water and boil for 1 hour.
- Using a sieve strain the tea from the mushroom product.
- Pour Tea (I like to add a little bit of honey too).
What Season Does Turkey Tail Grow?
Turkey Tail will grow year-round (January – December), but it tends to dry out fast in the summer months.
Turkey Tail Look-alike?
There are a few look-alikes of Turkey Tail but luckily they are not deadly (just lacking health benefits). They can easily be identified quickly by looking for the following features:
- False Turkey Tail -The specimens underside will be smooth and will not contain pores.
- Trichaptum abietinum – The specimen will have a purple colour tooth-like spiked porous underside.
- Lenzites betulina – This specimen will have gills on the underside instead of pores.