Hen of the Woods Mushroom Identification:
The hen of the woods mushroom, or maitake mushroom, is a fungus that is commonly found at the base of oaks and other hardwoods. It is large, dark gray-brown in color, and grows in clusters of fan-shaped, wavy caps. This mushroom gets its name from resembling a hen sitting on her nest. It also is known by the name ram’s head or sheep’s head because it resembles ram and sheep fur.
Hen of the woods is commonly found in northeastern states at the base of oak trees. Elm, maple, beech, chestnut, and sycamore trees are other common hosts.
Biology & Symptoms:
This mushroom can have a large fruiting body and can weigh anywhere from 5 to 50 pounds. It is typically found in late summer to early fall. It is a weak parasite and could be a sign of
an unhealthy tree.
Hen of the woods may be a sign of internal decay. Even though this is a weak parasite, continue to monitor tree health and implement proper cultural practices. Fungicides have not proven effective on these mushrooms. Preventing infection by proper mulching and watering practices is always recommended. Consult with your local arborist to see if this mushroom is a symptom of a more serious problem in your trees.