If You Go Down To The Woods Today

My housemate makes a lot of noise.  It’s her job.  Often I am lulled awake by the sound of scales being played on the French horn,  hymns on the piano, lovely Bach or the oddly charming farty sounds of the serpent.  But today in place of many of these came a series of excited monkey squeals. ‘Ooh, ooh, squee!’  she cried, ‘we found chicken-of-the-woods!’

Chicken-of-the-woods has tasty flesh and lives in trees.  So far, so avian.  However, it is a mushroom.  To be precise, Laetiporus sulphureus, an enormous deep yellow fungus that creeps along the shadowy crevices of  trees and drains them of their moisture until the tree eventually dies.  It tends to colonise patches of oak woodland and infest all the trees there.  Luckily, as infestations go, it’s one of the ones you can fry in garlic butter and have for lunch. (more…)

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