Taxonomic Synonyms Considerations Synonymous wit Polyporus frondosusl cks Fr f StXwypo bellatus Fr also known as Grifola umbellata Pe Fr nch has

muWple caps ari: ng from a comm iste t, a lighter color a» a more fragile texture The pnmo cha TG&aren darkgray umbellata are light gra3 Macroscopically, 'hese two mushrooms are easily distinguished by their

S n «¡Sir SfiT® & Wasson (1973) first cast doubt about the authentic^ O la. take" being Gnfola ^^S^SSHS^L, da■ e with the nuns and woodcutters. Maitake is today synonymous with C, frondosa.

figure 333. Wild fruiting of Mai take, G. Jrondosa, at l>ase of oak tree

form M:-roscopically, the spores of G. umbellata are substantially larger and more cylindrically shaped than the spores of G.frondosa.

Description: A iarge, fleshy polypore, dark gray brown when young, becoming lighter gray in age (Some varieties fade to a light yellow at maturity.) Fruitbody is composed of multiple, overlapping caps, 2-10 cm. in diameter, arising from branching stems, eccentrically attached, and sharing a common base. Young fruitbodies are adorned with fine gray fibrils. The pores on the underside of the caps are white.

Diciti mtion: Growing jin northern temperate, deciduous forests. In North America, primarily found in Eastern Canada and throughout the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. Rarely found in the northwestern and in the southeastern United States. Also indigenous to the Northeastern regions of Japan the temperate hardwood regions of China, and Europe where it was first discovered.

Natural Habitat: Found on stumps or at the base of dead or dying deciduous hardwoods, especially oaks, eims, maples, blackgum, beech, and occasionally on (arch. According to Gilbertson & Ryvarden (1986), this mushroom has also been collected on pines (Douglas fir), aitl ough rarely so. G. frondosa is a "white rot" fungus. Although found at the bases of dying trees, most mycologists view this mushroom as a saprophyte, exploiting tree tissue dying from other causes.

Microscopic Features: Spores white, slightly elliptical (egg-shaped), smooth hyaline. 6-7 x 3.5-5 ¡a Hyphal system dimitic, clamp connections present iri, the generative hyphae, infrequently branching with skeletal non-septate hyphae

Figure 134. Mycologist 55 Chapman with a huge Grifóla frondosa, known to Americans as Hei th¿-Woods and to Japanese as Maitakd. This specimen was 5 feet in circumference and estimated to w " >h more than 40 lbs. Growing from a stately oak tree in a colonial graveyard in upstate New York, the location of this mushroom patch is a closely guarded secret This patch con: istently produces specimens of such magnitude and occasionally generates 100 lb. clusters.

Available Strains: Strains from th wild unlike those of Pleurotus, rarely produce under artificial conditions. Of the strains I have tested which have been obtained from culture ibrar • ies deposited there by taxono lly schooled, non-cultivator mycologists,. 0% of them do not fruit well on sterilized wood-based substrates. Therefore, screening and development of strains is necessary before commercial cultivation is feasible. Strains which produce fruitbody initials in 30 days are considered very fast. Most strains requi re 60-120 days of incubation before primordia formation begins.

Mycelial Characteristics: White, longit dinially li ?ar, eventually thickly cottony on enriched agar media non-rhizomorphic. The myceliuir irows out unevenly, not forming the circular -olonies typicalofmostmushrooms. Regions of the myce lium surge while other regions abate in their rate of growti. This pattern of growth seems character tic of the species, as I have seen it i the majority of the 20 strains ofG. frondarathatlhave in my culture library Oftentimes the mycelium develops light tawny brown tones along the ou.-side perip iflftl edges in aging. At mat irity ha dense mycelial mat can be peeled c irectly of: the agar media. Once on sawdust, many strains have mycelia which develop strong yellowish to orangish brown mottled zones, exuding a yellowish orange metabolite. Sawdust spawn, when young, is white As the spawn matures, rust colors prevail strong fish-like odor develops.

ISIessS:

As forests declijit from acid rain, future-oriented foresters • ,uld >e wtse to explore strateg s wtaeby the dead ne^ould be inflated and saprophytic byMait^and snrnlar

Figure 134. Mycologist 55 Chapman with a huge Grifóla frondosa, known to Americans as Hei th¿-Woods and to Japanese as Maitakd. This specimen was 5 feet in circumference and estimated to w " >h more than 40 lbs. Growing from a stately oak tree in a colonial graveyard in upstate New York, the location of this mushroom patch is a closely guarded secret This patch con: istently produces specimens of such magnitude and occasionally generates 100 lb. clusters.

Figure 335. Maitake usually fruits at the base of dead or dying trees. This is the same tree that yielded the 40 lb. cluster in Figure 328. Some clusters have weighed in at 100 lbs. apiece.

tiating fungi in the 21st century.

Those experimenting wife stump culture should allow one to three years before fruitings can be expected. High moculation rates are recommended. Stumps do not necessarily have to be "virgin". Maitake is well known for attacking trees already being parasitized by other fungi, as does Zhu L'ng (Polyporus umbellatus). However, it is not yet known un der what conditions, Maitake will dominate over other fungi in tlis situa ion. Iherefore. for best results, the inoculation of recently made stumps is recommended.

As the anti-HIV and immuno-potentiating properties of Maitake become better under stood. I envision the establishment of Sacred Medicinal Mushroom Forests & Gardens n the near future. Permaculturally oriented larms „am a ■ noculate hardwood stumps interspersed t multi-canopied shade trees. (See 5.) Clear economic, ecological, medi-caranu moral incentives are in place for such Maitake models. Those with compromised immune systems would be wise to establish their own med - :nal mushroom patches utilizing Maitake and other mushrooms.

Figure 335. Maitake usually fruits at the base of dead or dying trees. This is the same tree that yielded the 40 lb. cluster in Figure 328. Some clusters have weighed in at 100 lbs. apiece.

Recommended Courses for Expansion of Mycelial Mass to Achieve Fruiting: Agar to cereal grain (rye, wheat, sorghum, milo) for the generation of Spawn Masters. These can be expanded by a factor of 10 to create 2nd Generation grain spawn. This spawn can, in turn be used to inoculate sawdust. The resulting sawdust spawn can either inoculate stumps outdoors, or for indoor cultivation on sterilized sawdust/chips/bran.

Mosi fruiting strains begin producing 6-8 weeks from inoculation onto sterilized, supplemented sawdust. Chung and Joo (1989) found that a mixture 15:5:2 of oak sawdust:poplar sawdustxorn waste generated the greatest yields. The Mori Mushroom Institute of Japan has successfully used larch sawdust, supplemented wi h rice bran, to grow th;" mushroom. As a starting formula, I recommend using the standard sawdust:chips:bran combination described for the cultivation of Shiitake and then amending this formula to optimize yields. If blocks of this substrate formula are mixed to a make-up weight of 51bs. and then inoculated with 1/2 lb. of grain spawn, 1/2-1 lb. clusters of Maitake can be expected. However by increasing the makeup weight to 7 lbs., Maitake clusters greater than 1 lb. are generated. The only draw-back is that through-spawning is made more difficult using the standard bags available to the mushroom industry. With an increase in substrate mass, elevated growth parameters

~*336. m developed Maitake ready for harv^. My clusters average VI to 1 lb. from 5 lbs. of sawdust/cfcus.

Figure 337'HlTcluster ¡t'ideal sTage for"pickinf When Maitak, Z v from the side, the center of gravity moves as the mushroom matures, sometimes causing the block to fall over.

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