Laetiporus conifericola Burds. & Banik 2001
Sulphur shelf, chicken of the woods, chicken mushroom, chicken fungus
Laetiporus, meaning "bright spores," is native to North America and Europe. Until DNA tests recently proved this to be a distinct species, Laetiporus conifericola was thought to be Laetiporus sulphureus. But this mushroom is found on the west coast, while L. sulphureus is found in the east.
Identification: Sulphur shelf is so brightly colored that it is hard to miss, and hard to confuse with other species. It is a bracket fungus, meaning that it grows from the sides of trees. It inhabits cone-bearing trees, and is composed of many horizontal layers called shelves, each 2½-22" (7-55 cm) wide. It is yellow to orange, and lacks gills. It makes a white spore print. This mushroom is easily confused with Laetiporus gilbertsonii. The main distinction is that L. gilbertsonii grows on oaks and eucalyptus trees, while L. conifericola grows on cone-bearing trees.
Edibility: Not edible. Sour-tasting and indigestible, causing nausea, dizziness, and possibly hallucinations. Its close cousin, Laetiporus gilbertsonii, is generally considered edible, but some people don't respond well to it.
Laetiporus conifericola description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.