This odd looking though tasty woodland fungus maybe tricky to clean, but it is very easy to identify.
|Common Names||Cauliflower Fungus, Wood Cauliflower, Brain Fungus|
|Scientific Name||Sparassis crispa|
|Average Mushroom height (CM)||25|
|Average Cap width (CM)||25|
All the visible parts above ground are fattened lobes looking similar to a sea sponge, brain or cauliflower. Can be light brown, buff to yellow/grey to creamy white.
Sparassis spathulata is an almost identical mushroom which grows with broadleaf trees, it is also known as Wood Cauliflower and is equally edible. Some mycologists consider other species in the Sparassis genus to exist, but this is of little interest for the forager as none is poisonous.
You are unlikely to confuse these species with anything else in Great Britain.
Colourless unless in large amounts when they appear pale yellow. Subglobose to ellipsoid to ovoid.
Taste / Smell
Tasty when young and fresh but needing a good wash and inspection before cooking and eating.
Once it becomes yellow and starts to decay it’s better left behind as it becomes rather indigestible. Should be cooked before consumption.
One mushroom found in the south of France weighed nearly thirty kilos.
They have been shown to have anti-tumour properties, and to contain chemicals which may stimulate the immune system.
These mushrooms have been successfully cultivated in Asia and North America.