Name Variations Edit
About Hen of the woods mushroom Edit
Wikipedia Article About Hen of the woods mushroom on Wikipedia
Hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa referring to a mythical beast which is half-lion and half-eagle), also known as sheep’s Head and maitake (pronounced my-tah-keh), is an edible mushroom. It has a rippling form with no caps, and grows in clusters at the foot of oak trees, giving it an image of dancing butterflies, and thus the Japanese named it "maitake", literally meaning "dancing mushroom". Hen of the woods should not be confused with the similarly named edible bracket fungi, chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), also known as "sulphur shelf". Some people prefer calling it chicken mushroom precisely so that they don't confuse it with hen of the woods.
Maitake is indigenous to the northeastern part of Japan, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbology as an adaptogen, an aid to balance out altered body systems to a normal level. Most people find its taste appealing, but the mushroom has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people.
A dark brownish gray cultivated mushroom that resembles a tightly ruffled puff edged in white. The name of this rich-flavored mushroom is said to come from the fact that its shape vaguely resembles the body of a hen.