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Cauliflower Fungus

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

This odd looking though tasty woodland fungus maybe tricky to clean, but it is very easy to identify.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Cauliflower Fungus, Wood Cauliflower, Brain Fungus
Scientific Name Sparassis crispa
Season Start Aug
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 25
Average Cap width (CM) 25
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

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.


There are no gills, this mushroom has flattened lobes with tiny pores.


On the roots of conifers especially pine but can be found at the base of trunks or stumps.

Possible Confusion

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.


Spore Print

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.



Other Facts

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.


6 comments for Cauliflower Fungus

  1. Craig brown says:

    Keep looking out for the mushrooms in your monthly emails .found quite a few. But still not got the nerve to pick and eat any . , but still love it thanks

    1. Poppy Ives says:

      Hi Craig, have you read any of our articles? Our ‘wild mushrooms for beginners’ and ‘identifying white mushrooms’ articles are a good starting point. We do also run foraging courses which give you a hands on experience of identifying different plants and mushrooms, we find that this is usually the best way to learn. We would also recommend getting yourself a good mushroom identification book, Roger Philips Mushrooms is a really good one.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Found a lovely clump of this in Devon!!! How would you recommend cooking it??

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Rebecca, after thorough cleaning I like to just fry this mushroom in butter and season to get the true taste of it.

  3. Diane Sugden says:

    Hi ,
    Are there any foraging for mushroom courses in and around the Dorchester area and Mid to West Dorset ?
    I would love to be more knowledgable . At the moment I am fine with field and horse mushrooms in Autumn anything else I am less sure . I came across a beautiful clump in a mixed deciduous woodland copse this morning and would have loved to pick a few .
    Diane Sugden

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      The closest courses to you would be in the New Forest or Dartmoor. The New Forest is mainly a mushroom based course, Dartmoor is both plants and fungi.

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