Maitake mushrooms are found naturally in old forests but that does not imply that they cannot thrive at home. Maitake can surely be cultivated in your backyard but the process is tedious. However, patience is a virtue.
A backyard Maitake growth requires a recreated natural environment for cheerful development. A seasoned log is soaked in cold water for few hours, dried, drilled, and inoculated with the spawn. The drilled holes are then sealed with cheese wax to avoid contamination of the log. The fungus slowly colonizes in a damp outdoor area.
Maitake fruiting bodies emerge out in about six weeks if the process is carried out flawlessly.
The lifecycle of Maitake can be broadly divided into three stages:
- Spawn run
- Primordia initiation
- Fruiting body development
Spawn run is the vegetative mycelial phase in which a growth period is chased by the maturation of metabolic activities. These series of processes can bear low light but prospers when receiving increased light, copious oxygen, and high humidity. The Maitake spawn run promotes primordial initiation.
Primordia are dark grayish, ball-like mounds that develop on the surface of mycelium and pave the path for the formation of a fruiting body.
Fruiting body Development
The development of the fruiting body is itself branched into 3 stages:
1. Brain stage
The grayish-black primordia further grow into convoluted folds that depict the picture of a brain.
2. Cauliflower stage
The convoluted folds initiate unfolding all the while overlapping the young caps to form a cluster. The lateral stem elongates and becomes highly branched and each branch is connected to a young cap on the upper portion. The whole phenomenon manifests the scenario of cauliflower, so this stage is named after it.
3. Cluster flower stage
The mushroom continues to take after the cauliflower stage and keeps growing, framing a clustered flower. In the course of this morphogenesis, the color of the mushroom lightens and it becomes white.