Friday, October 30, 2009
Chicken of the Woods Sighting!
While taking an afternoon walk around my neighborhood yesterday I stumbled across something that made my heart stop. Could it really be Chicken of the Woods? I felt like I was seeing a ghost.
Some of my fondest memories are of hunting for Chicken of the Woods in the small forest surrounding Mrs. Bemis' (an estate about 20 minutes from St. Paul, MN - we took care of her many gardens). After eating lunch by the pond, we would take leisurely walks through the woods, climb over and under chopped logs, and scan the towering oaks in search of these treasured mushrooms. Spotting Chicken of the Woods was difficult because their orange/gold color blended so well with fallen leaves. If we were lucky and the conditions were right, we would be able to bring home some nice chunks and fry them in butter to eat with friends.
I had no idea this magnificent mushroom existed in California - let alone Los Angeles - let alone in my own neighborhood! After doing a bit of research I discovered the mushroom I found growing from a carob tree on my walk is called Laetiporus gilbertsonii while the mushroom I found growing from oak trees at Mrs. Bemis' is called Laetiporus sulphureus. Two different species - same common name. Did I take any chunks off this mushroom jackpot to fry up and share with friends? No, I wasn't 100% certain it was the same Chicken of the Woods I knew and it looked a little too old to eat anyway.