Turkey Tail Mushroom - Trametes versicolor

Turkey Tail Mushroom

Trametes versicolor

Turkey tail mushrooms are said to prevent the formation and growth of many different types of cancers. Additionally, they reduce treatment-related side effects and restore weakened immune systems in cancer patients who have been subjected to harmful chemo.

  • Plant Family: Polyporaceae
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Common Polypore
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Fruit
  • Side Effects: None
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About Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Turkey tail is an edible fungus that is commonly known as bracket fungi but for science freaks, it is called Trametes versicolor, Coriolus versicolor, and Polyporus versicolor. It attained its peculiar name because its appearance, shape, and colors are reminiscent of a wild turkey.

Turkey tail has multiple colored rings on its cap that ranges between brown to red while the false turkey tail has bright orange hues. Its flesh has a leathery texture. The caps are triangular or round with zones having sheath of fine hairs. Turkey tail mushroom can be easily found on dead and decaying logs in the wild. In fact, they are quite a frequent sight which accounts for its global popularity.

Turkey tail mushroom is a reputable part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Native American Herbalism. Turkey tail is celebrated highly among its lovers due to its immune-boosting properties. It is filled to the frills with Polysaccharide Krestin (PSK), Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP), antioxidants, and various other compounds that help in the treatment of cancer, improvement in the balance of microflora of the gut, attenuation of obesity and inflammation, and amelioration of insulin resistance.

Apart from its medicinal uses, the turkey tail mushroom is favorite of gourmets and is frequently used in stew, broths, and many other recipes.


Turkey tail mushroom is a highly potent medicinal fungus that is very easy to grow. It requires a little babysitting and can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

Dead and decaying conifer or pine logs are drilled and inoculated with the spawn and sealed with the wax to avoid other fungi infecting the same log. Other favorable woods are oak, alder, poplar, aspen, elm, ironwood, and eucalyptus. The log may be buried horizontally after incubation to conserve water during the formation of fruiting bodies.

For sawdust, the spawn is introduced and the growing bag or container can be placed indoors or outdoor during spring or fall.

Turkey tail requires an optimum temperature of 65–75 °F to let out fruiting bodies in spring and fall. Both the logs and sawdust require plenty of water to grow mycelia and pave the path for the highly cherished fruiting bodies.

Turkey Tail is a polypore fungus and its lifecycle initiates with the blowing of haploid spores in the air. These haploid spores are attracted to a favorable region where everything is desirable. It grows into a germling and fuses with the other one to undergo the process of plasmogamy.

Eventually, the fungus develops into a fruiting body, where its underside has pore surface, lined with basidia. These basidia are responsible for carryout the meiosis of diploid cells into four haploid cells. These haploid cells then fulfill the legacy of the perpetuation of the turkey tail’s lifecycle.


Turkey tail mushroom fruits in spring and fall so it can be harvested throughout these seasons i.e. at the end of the winters.

The fruiting body of turkey tail mushroom is simply harvested by picking them with hands.

Turkey tail mushrooms are best used when dried and crushed into a powder form. They can be dried either in a dehydrator or in an oven by setting its temperature at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours or so with a slightly ajar door.

As for dehydrator, it is set at 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and mushrooms are left in it for 24 to 26 hours to dry properly.

The dried turkey tail mushroom is stored in an airtight jar.


Turkey tail mushrooms shot to fame in the 1950’s when doctors noticed a decrease in the growth of tumors in people who were consuming turkey tail tea. Since then, various preparatory forms have emerged to take benefits of this versatile mushroom.

  • Tincture- Fresh or dried turkey tail mushroom is infused in grain alcohol for 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea- Fresh or dried turkey tail mushroom is chopped and boiled with water. To add some flavor, some turmeric and honey are incorporated into the strained liquid.
  • Decoction- Fresh or dried turkey tail mushroom is chopped and boiled in water for 20 to 30 minutes to decoct it.
  • Salve- Turkey tail mushroom extract is used to make a salve.