Laetiporus sulphureus – an exciting prospect

In other parts of the world Laetiporus sulphureus is known as chicken of the woods and is  considered a good edible mushroom. I had not heard of any occurence in Australia, but Ray Palmer of north Queensland has reported it growing on Eucalyptus near his home.  You can see Ray’s pictures on his Flickr site, here.

I would emphasise that I have not eaten this mushroom, and I am not aware that Ray or anyone else has either. So it is in the ‘potential’ category for the moment. But an exciting prospect!

Note 26/2/2013.  Since it is reported as edible in the comments below, I have upgraded this to the ‘edible but untried’ category.

If should be noted that the edibility of L. sulphureus depends on the substrate.   On this page, they recommend that you don’t eat it if it is growing on Eucalyptus.

If anyone has any further information on this, I would be most interested to hear about it.


As noted in the comments below, Forthferalz has drawn my attention to some other references to this fungus in Australia.  This picture is provided by blueswami.

I am not sure what angle this was taken at, but in comparison with other pictures, it seems to be upside down.  I think it looks more realistic like this:

There appears to be quite a wide variety of morphologies and colours for this genus.  Even in North America, where it is widely consumed, there appears to be differences between the east and west coast experiences, as well as some confusion about which species is being consumed.

Update  16/04/2016

I have recently had the chance to observe this mushroom first hand in the Dorrigo/Bellingen area of NSW.   It was growing on fallen logs and on the base of a living tree which was also host to Omphalotus nidiformis.  These observations were made in March of a dryish year and I was able to see examples of it over a range of forests.  Here is a picture of one on an exposed lateral root of a rainforest tree along with Omphalotus.

Laetiporus and omphalotus

Laetiporus sp. together with Omphalotus nidiformis

I haven’t shown a picture of the pores, but they were white .  This isn’t the right colour for Laetiporus sulphureus.  It is interesting also that this species appears to be restricted to the warmer regions of the country, while L. sulphureus grows in places like England.

Some light is thrown on this subject by Michael Kuo, the Mushroom Expert.  His comments can be found at this link.

It seems that there are numerous closely related species of Laetiporus in the US.  It is entirely possible that the species here in Australia is yet another one.  The fact that the ones I have observed grow at ground level indicates that they are not L. sulphureus.  To my knowledge it has not been formally named yet. Neither has it’s edibility been established.  Given that there have been numerous cases of people experiencing gastro-intestinal distress from eating various forms of this mushroom in America, it is entirely possible that our local species will cause the same problems.   So there it stands.  At first exciting, but in the end an enigma.


12 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Le Loup said,

    Thanks for this, much appreciated. I must keep my eyes open in my neck of the woods.
    Regards, Le Loup.
    A Woodsrunner’s Diary.

  2. 2

    Seymour said,

    I found some of this growing on an oak a couple of weeks ago. It was high up so I had to climb, but it was well worth it. It’s a good eater but needs to be cooked properly and it is alleged that some people do have an allergic reaction. It deserves the name “Chicken of the woods” very well – I made some “chicken nuggets” with it. Posted about it here:

    Hope you find some 🙂

    • 3

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Seymour,

      Thanks for posting the link to your recipe. I think it is unlikely that I will find this mushroom where I am, but willl certainly keep an eye out for it, and investigate the literature a little further.



  3. 4

    truffleandmushroomhunter said,

    yeah a good mushroom if you like chicken, make sure fully cooked before eating as it can cause mild cramps if not, do not eat from yew trees either although I have friends who have with no ill effect But i do not recommend.

  4. 5

    forthferalz said, and how are we sure it’s not this one? the colour is more salmon than yellow in the photo to my eye.

  5. 7

    forthferalz said,

    sorry wondering if the spam catcher keeps removing this link to NSW sighting www. html just take out the spaces

  6. 9

    Jesse said,

    I eat those of eucalyptus all the time. Just be careful and try a small amount that has been cooked well. If you feel sick don’t eat any more. I you feel ok after an hour or so go ahead and feast

    • 10

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Jesse,

      Thanks for that information. Can I ask what region you are in and when you find these?

      Do you eat any other interesting fungi?



  7. 11

    Gibbo said,

    Yes I have seen these growing in a park in the Dandenong Ranges on an oldish oak. I didn’t collect or eat it but I have been told they have been eaten in Australia without a problem.
    Im not sure about the claims from a few that they are poisonous if collected from Eucalypt or conifers. They are currently growing shiitakes in bulk of eucalypt but I guess it might depend on the species of mushroom as to whether they collect substrate toxins

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