Turkey Tail

Trametes versicolor

Copyright, Clive Shirley

Turkey Tail is a common bracket fungus (a fungus which grows on the sides of logs or trees).

It is a fungus that has no stalk like a mushroom. It feels leathery to the touch.

Turkey Tail has a spoon or cup shape, up to four inches wide, and it is very colorful. Its colors can range from brown, white, tan, orange, red, or purple -- or all these colors at once.

Turkey Tail caps often overlap each other.

Like other fungi, Turkey Tail is the name for the part that you see. Most of the fungus is inside the bark of the log. The "tail" that you see is like the "flower" of the fungus.

These "blooms" grow from May to December. Turkey Tails can last several years.

Turkey Tails grow on dead or dying wood, especially oaks. They are also known to grow from wounds in a tree.

This fungus can harm a sick tree, but most often it helps break down old, dead logs and tree trunks, so that their nutrients can return to the soil to be used again.

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Plants

OTHER

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Horned Fungus Beetle

Black Oak

Eastern Box Turtle

Fungus Gnat

White Oak

Horned Fungus Beetle

American Beech

Leopard Slug

Eastern White Pine

Isopod

Virginia Pine

Fungus Gnat

American Elm

Yellow Poplar

Mockernut Hickory

Sweetgum

Relationship to Humans:

Turkey Tails are not poisonous to people, but they are not eaten either. Their flesh is too tough and leathery. This fungus helps people by decomposing old trees so that nutrients can be recycled by new plants and animals.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Fungi
DIVISION
Basidomycota
CLASS
Hymenomycetes
ORDER
Aphyllophorales
FAMILY
Polyporaceae
GENUS
Trametes
SPECIES
Trametes versicolor

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