Scientific name: Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd
Derivation of name: Trametes means "one who is thin";
versicolor means "of various colors" in reference to the
strongly zonate cap.
Synonymy: Polyporus versicolor L.: Fr.; Boletus
versicolor L.; Coriolus versicolor (L.) Quel.
Common names: Turkey tail; Many-zoned polypore.
Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic to weakly
parasitic; clustered, usually overlapping or in fused rosettes
on dead deciduous wood or on dying trees, rarely on
conifer wood; May through December, found year-round.
Dimensions: Caps 2.5-8 cm wide and 1-3 mm thick.
Upper surface: Multicolored with yellowish, orangish,
grayish, bluish, blackish, and reddish-brown concentric
zones; outermost zone usually pale; hairy velvety zones
alternating with almost glabrous zones.
Pore surface: White to yellowish, pores 3-5 per mm.
Comments: This very colorful polypore may be the most
common decomposer of hardwoods in North America.
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Figure 1. Trametes versicolor. These specimens are rich
in brownish zones. Photo © David Work.
Figure 2. Compared to the specimens in Figure 1, these
specimens are rich in
grayish (or even bluish) zones.
Photo © David Work.
Figure 3. Note the prominent white growing margin of these
specimens. Photo © Nathan Wilson.
Figure 4. Overlapping rosettes of fused polypores are a
common growth form when Trametes versicolor is on
horizontal surfaces. Photo © Noah Siegel.
Figure 5. These speciemens were collected during a NEMF
foray. Photo © Gary Emberger.
On casual inspection, the typically white pore
surface looks almost poreless because the pores are quite
small. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 7. The thin margins give evidence of the overall thin
caps of Trametes versicolor. Photo © Gary Emberger.