Hen-of-The-Woods mushrooms are popular in Japan.
They are native to the northeastern part of Japan and North America.
They are a fungus that grows on trees and tree stumps, preferring deciduous trees, particularly oaks. They don’t have caps like other mushrooms: instead, they look like petals growing off a stalk in clusters. Some people think they look more like a chicken who has her tail feathers all ruffled, hence one of the many names for this mushroom. The mushroom can easily grow two feet across (60cm) and a foot tall (30cm), and weigh 25 pounds (11 kg.) It has pores instead of gills. The colour is a streaky, mottled brown.
These are both cultivated and gathered from the wild.
Hen-of-The-Woods mushrooms have a savoury taste and an aroma that is prized in Japan. When young, they will be tender, but when mature they will be woody and tough.
You can buy them fresh or dried.
There is much natural health hype around this mushroom that can be disregarded. That being said, “maitake mushrooms have a particularly high content in ascorbic acid, tocopherols phenolic compounds and carotenoids.”  University of Turin. Understanding Mediterranean and Okinawa Diets. Step 3.1: Seaweeds, mushrooms and tofu. Accessed February 2022 at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/okinawa-diet/3/steps/1373391
Store in fridge for up to 7 to 10 days after harvesting.
The Japanese name, “maitake”, means “dancing mushroom”.
|↑1||University of Turin. Understanding Mediterranean and Okinawa Diets. Step 3.1: Seaweeds, mushrooms and tofu. Accessed February 2022 at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/okinawa-diet/3/steps/1373391|