Scientific name: Laetiporus sulphureus (Bull.) Murrill
Derivation of name: Laet- means "pleasing" or "bright"
and por- means "pores." Sulphureus
refers to "sulphur yellow."
Synonymy: Polyporus sulphureus Bull.: Fr.
Common names: Chicken of the woods, chicken
Occurrence on wood substrate: Parasitic and saprobic;
solitary or more commonly in compound clusters and
rosettes on living and dead hardwood tree trunks, logs, and
stumps, particularly oak (Quercus); May through
Dimensions: Individual caps 5-30 cm wide; clusters up to
75 cm across.
Upper surface: Bright to dull orange, fading to pale
orange and white in age; radially wrinkled and roughened;
Pore surface: Sulphur-yellow; pores 3-4 per mm.
Edibility: Edible, considered choice, but up to 20% of
people eating this species suffer mild to moderate
Comments: One of the largest and most colorful fungi, it is
also considered a choice edible with tender portions tasting
like white chicken meat. Individual allergies can occur and
specimens growing on certain substrates or
alcohol are reported to cause digestive
Utilizing molecular techniques and mating
incompatibility studies, Burdsall and Banik (2001)
L. sulphureus as one of six species of
Laetiporus in North
America, three of which occur in
More information at MushroomExpert.com:
More information at TomVolkFungi.net:
Laetiporus sulphureus on the trunk of a
Note the wrinkling of the cap
surfaces and margins.
© Fred Habegger.
Laetiporus sulphureus on a log. Photo © Gary
Figure 3. The distinctive orange caps with paler margins of
Laetiporus sulphureus. Photo © George Morrison.
Figure 4. This award-winning photograph by John
Plischke III clearly shows the sulphur-yellow pore
surface of the chicken mushroom.
Photo © John Plischke III.
Figure 5. The yellow pore surface of Laetiporus
sulphureus. Laetiporus means "pleasing" or "beautiful"
pores. Photo © Gary
Figure 6. A beautiful specimen of chicken mushroom
growing on a log. Photo © Dorothy Smullen.
Figure 7. Sauteed chicken of the woods. Although quite
edible for many, see the notes under Edibility and Comments.
Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 8. A spectacular fruiting of L. sulphureus.
Unfortunately, the specimens were old and faded.
Photo © Gary Emberger.
This specimen grew on an oak tree in New
Hampshire. The gentleman (above) who found it was quite
concerned until his friend (above) identified it as
chicken-of-the-woods. Photo © Melissa Emberger.