Plant of The Month: September
Our team are always on the look out for new developments in the gardens. Each month, our Assistant Head Gardener, Graham, will be sharing some plants of interest with us.
September 2021: Chicken of the Woods Fungus
As we’re now officially entering autumn Graham has chosen for September not a plant but a fungi – Laetiporus – known as chicken of the woods as it’s often described as tasting and having the texture of chicken meat when cooked.
It’s a bracketed fungus with bright creamy yellow shelves of soft, moist and crumbly flesh which fade to cream with age. Most commonly found on the wounds of oak trees – as this one is on our 45 Avenue – chicken of the woods can also be hosted by eucalyptus, yew, sweet chestnut and willow.
The fungus is prepared in most ways chicken is and can be used as a substitute for chicken in a vegetarian diet. It’s best eaten young as it becomes woody and acrid tasting when older but can be frozen to remain edible. Care should be taken when first tasting chicken of the wood as some can be sensitive to it causing reactions from lip swelling to nausea, vomiting and dizziness and fungi from poisonous yew trees should be avoided! Graham had some from our oak tree whilst camping recently and happily he’d no side effects.
Autumn is the season we see more fungi appear and some consider them a sign of death and decay but in reality they’re the start of rebirth and continued life.