Author: Ethan

White-Pored Chicken of The Woods (Laetiporus cincinnatus)

Laetiporus cincinnatus is a tree or butt rot fungus that produces a choice edible mushroom, sometimes called the white-pored chicken of the woods.

Laet- means "bright, pleasing, or abundant," while por- means "pores." Cincinnatus refers to where the mushroom was first described in Cincinnati, Ohio.

It is also called sulphur mushroom or chicken of the woods, just like the similar species Laetiporus sulphureus, but L. cincinnatus can be distinguished by its white pores.

These chicken of the woods species are popular for their taste, beauty, and because they grow in big clusters.

This guide will cover the basics for identifying the white-pored chicken of the woods and some tips on eating it.

Other Awesome Mushroom Guides:

How to Identify Laetiporus Cincinnatus

laetiporus cincinnatus species

Laetiporus Cincinnatus is one of the easier chicken of the woods species to identify.

Its main unique features include the lighter color and the fact it is not often found growing in a shelving pattern.

Caps

Pink-orange to brown-orange caps.

They grow to be around 4-25 cm wide(about 1.5 to 10 inches)

The fruiting body is more likely to grow in a rosette pattern.

Gills

It is a polypore with no gills.

Stem

Usually has no visible stipe.

Spores

The pore surface is white, and it has a white spore print.

Location and Fruiting

Usually found at the base of hardwood trees like oak or nearby attached to roots.

Found east of the Great Plains in North America,

The regular season is summer to fall.

Poisonous Lookalikes

Jack O'Lantern mushrooms, the primary species being Omphalotus illudens and O. olearius, are the only somewhat close poisonous lookalike due to color.

However, chicken of the woods varieties don't have gills as the Jack O'Lanterns clearly do.

Laetiporus Cincinnatus Lookalikes

laetiporus genus species

A few other species of fungi, or mushrooms, in the Laetiporus genus are closely related and referred to as chicken of the woods.

It can be somewhat challenging for beginner foragers to tell these species apart depending on the specimen's age.

The ecology and geographic location will significantly help the identification process along with the slight differences in physical attributes.

Laetiporus Genus Comparison (Chicken of the Woods Species)

Laetiporus cincinnatus

CAP/ GROWTH

Pink-orange to brown-orange

Usually grows in a rosette pattern

PORES/ SPORES

White to cream to tan

White spore print

ECOLOGY

Mostly found at the base or near dead or living hardwoods like oaks.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION-

East of the Great Plains

Laetiporus sulphureus

CAP/ GROWTH

Yellow-orange

It can grow in a shelving or rosette pattern.

PORES/ SPORES

Yellow pores

White spore print

ECOLOGY

Mostly found at the base or near dead or living hardwoods like oaks.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION-

Europe and East of the Great Plains in US

Laetiporus conifercola

CAP/ GROWTH

Yellow-orange

It can grow in a shelving or rosette pattern.

PORES/ SPORES

Yellow pores

White spore print

ECOLOGY

Mostly found on, at the base, or near conifers.

 

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION-

Western North America and Europe

Laetiporus gilbertsonii

CAP/ GROWTH

Yellow-orange

It can grow in a shelving or rosette pattern.

PORES/ SPORES

Yellow pores

White spore print

ECOLOGY

Mostly found on, or at the base, of dead/live oaks.

Variations can be found on eucalyptus.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION-

Western North America

All these chicken of the woods species can be mistaken for the hen of the woods, Grifola frondosa, not because they look alike but instead due to their fowl-inspired nicknames.

Eating Laetiporus Cincinnatus

The white-pored chicken of the woods can be harvested, cleaned, and eaten similarly to the rest of the chicken of the woods mushrooms.

Is Laetiporus Cincinnatus Edible?

Laetiporus cincinnatus is generally considered a safe and edible species of mushroom-producing fungus. These mushrooms have been reported to cause gastrointestinal distress in some people but are usually fine if well cleaned and cooked. No species of chicken of the woods mushrooms should be consumed raw.

As with other mushrooms, you should avoid eating damaged, infested, or discolored portions of the mushroom to be safe.

Make sure to not consume any wild mushrooms without first consulting an expert.

What Does Laetiporus Cincinnatus Taste Like?

It is known for its taste, but does it really taste like chicken?

Laetiporus cincinnatus, like other chicken of the woods species, are popular because many people feel they do taste like chicken. Others describe it as tasting more like lobster or crab and even having a slight acidic lemon taste.

The mushroom texture is close to those three types of meat: chicken, lobster, and crab.

Just like L. sulphureus, the flavor will be better before they get too old and begin to dry.

Summary

This fungus has a unique beauty and is an exciting find for mushroom foragers of all skill levels.

The medical benefits of these mushrooms still need more research, but many consider them healthy medicinal mushrooms.

Some of the reported beneficial properties reported include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-carcinogenic

You can buy spores and grow your own chicken of the woods, even this specific species L. cincinnatus.

Check out our chicken of the woods guide for more cooking tips and where to buy these mushrooms or spores.

Happy Cultivating!

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