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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sparassis crispa

So this is not actually a dead coral as I originally thought. This is either a collapsed colony of sparassis crispa or peziza proteana. It's common names are Hen of the Woods and Cauliflower Mushroom. If it is sparassis crispa, it is very edible, very delicious and will be hunted in the same spot this year. I had a chance to sample it last year at a small lecture. It really would make a great meal all by itself. If it is a peziza I am less sure of its edible qualities. In either case, certain identification can only be made possible by finding a fresh specimen this Fall. It is not a Spring mushroom in either case.

My leaning is Hen of the Woods simply because the top down view shows a curly mop of hair which matches pictures of other specimens I've seen on the internet under the HoW heading. It isn't really hair of course, but it has the appearance. The dead and dried out versions of pezizas retain their cell structure rather than get stringy like these did. Again... when I find a fresh specimen I will know for certain. 

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