You are on page 1of 2

Terfezia arenaria (Moris) Trappe

Desert Mushroom, Moroccan Desert Truffle

Spores: 19–26 µm, whitish/ochreous, globose, warty. Fruit Body: 3–15 cm, subglobose, smooth, unpolished, sometimes cracked. Thin walled (20–50 µm diameter), yellowish in the outermost layers, gleba solid, fleshy, succulent, whitish/pale pink/grayish/reddish brown, inner fertile tissue separated by sterile veins. Odor faint, taste mild.

Range: North Africa and Middle East. Ecology: Sandy ground/grasslands/open stands of oak/pine/eucalyptus/Cistus/ rockrose. Season: Winter/spring.

Edibility: Choice. Medicinal: Antioxidant, antimicrobial. Other: Famous fungus of antiquity. Called hydnon by the Greeks, tuber by the Romans, and terfex in Islamic countries, where it is still popular.

Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd

Turkey Tail, Many-Colored Polypore, Chinese: Yun Zhi, Japanese:

Kawaratake (Cloud Mushroom)

Spores: 4–6x1.5–2.5 µm, white/yellowish, cylindrical/sausage, smooth. Stipe: Absent/rudimentary. Fruit Body: 2–10 cm broad, 1–2 mm thick, bracket-like, thin, leathery when fresh, rigid/slightly flexible dry, plane/wavy, dry, velvety, zoned with bands of contrasting colors, hairy zones alternate with smooth ones, variable colors: white/gray/brown/yellowish/buff/blush/ reddish/dark brown/black, with a white margin. Flesh tough and white. KOH negative/yellowish. Pores: 3–5/mm, white/ yellowish, visible. Tubes up to 2 mm, long and tough.

Range: Global, in boreal, temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions. Ecology: Dead hardwoods/conifers. Growth Habit: In groups/rows/shelving masses/clusters. Season:


Edibility: Best in soups, teas. Medicinal: Strong immune stimulation. In Japan: common for chemo/cancer patients (colorectal, small cell lung, leukemia, liver, gastric, nose and throat, esophagus, melanoma, and stomach). Antitumor, antibiotic, antiviral (HIV, HSV), antioxidant, antifungal, vasodilating. Helps with autoimmune diseases, lupus, chronic rheumatoid arthritis, sclerosis, Behcet’s disease, Hepatitis B, malaria. hypertension, diabetes, thrombosis. Lowers cholesterol, speeds burn recovery. Dyes: Ammonia=brown/ beige, no mordant=gray-yellow. Remediation: Thoroughly investigated, highly regarded. Breaks down all 16 priority PAHs and many aromatic compounds (e.g. nerve agents, dioxin, persistent organophosphates, PCPs, TNT, 3,4-dichloroaniline, dieldrin, antracines, pyrenes). Sorbs chromium and mercury from water. Other: Colors reflect mineral content of substrate.

N Cultivation: Fast growing, with rubbery mycelium in age. Good for plain, pasteurized sawdust/logs of many wood types.

462 Radical Mycology

N.29 – Trametes versicolor, a beautiful and medicinal gift of the woods. N.30 – Xylaria
N.29 – Trametes versicolor, a beautiful and medicinal gift of the woods.
N.30 – Xylaria hypoxylon.

Xylaria hypoxylon (L.) Grev.

Candlestick Fungus, Candlesnuff Fungus, Carbon Antlers, Stag’s Horn Fungus

Spores: Sexual spores 10–14x4–6 µm, bean-shaped, smooth, black. Asexual spores smooth, elliptical, white. Perithecia in upper half of mature fruit body. Fruit Body: Lower sterile portion 1–5 mm thick, black, minutely hairy, very tough/wiry. Upper 2–8 cm high, very tough, erect, slender, cylindrical becoming antler-like, tips white and powdery when young, eventually blackening. Flesh tough and white/pallid. Other:

Reported to have luminescent mycelium.

Ecology: Rotting logs/stumps. Growth Habit: Scattered/ densely gregarious/clustered. Season: Spring–winter.

Edibility: Not poisonous but very tough.

Xylaria polymorpha (Pers.) Grev.

Dead Man’s Fingers, India: Phoot Doodh (To Gush Milk)

Spores: Sexual are 20–32x5–12 µm, spindle-shaped, smooth, dark brown/black. Asexual spores smaller, elongated/elliptical,

smooth, hyaline under microscope. Perithecia in upper half of fruit body. Stalk/ Fruit Body: Short, well defined, narrower upper half. Top: 2–8x0.5–3 cm, tough and hard, erect, club- shaped/irregular/twisted, blunt/rounded/lobed, surface crust- like, wrinkled/cracked, black in age. Flesh hard and white/ pallid. Often covered with a white/gray/brown powder when young. Other: Asexual (whitish) stage in spring, sexual (carbon) stage the following summer.

Ecology: On rotting hardwood stumps/logs of beech/maple. Growth Habit: In groups/clusters. Season: Summer–fall.

Edibility: Too tough to eat. Medicinal: In Ayurvedic medicine: ground with sugar and formed into pea-sized pills. Anticancer, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral (HIV), antioxidant, potential for memory conditions. Mycelium powder is said to produce a tranquilizing effect on the CNS. Improves sleep, reduces abnormal dopamine stimulation, improves iron deficient anemia, restores hormonal imbalance associated with menopause, prostate hypertrophy, and abnormal menstruation. Closely related X. nigripes is commonly cultivated in China for medicine.

N.31 – Xylaria polymorpha, the fingers of dead men.
N.31 – Xylaria polymorpha, the fingers of dead men.

Species Profiles: Non-Cap and Stalk