See also the related species, Maitake
Zhu ling, Umbrella polypore, Chorei-maitake, Tsuchi-maitake (Polyporus umbellatus, Grifola umbellata, Dendropolyporus umbellatus)
Usually found growing in a clump of individuals on such hardwood stumps as an oak, maple or birch. It is found mostly in North America, from Tennessee to Kansas, as well as in Asia.
If found, do not take the whole mushroom but collect it like cauliflower or broccoli flowerets and harvest only some of the individuals. That way, the mushroom will continue to produce year after year.
When collecting any mushroom that grows on the base of trees, it is best to keep in mind that animals tend to water those areas. Therefore, rinse the mushrooms well before using.
Classified as a parasite, it feeds on the roots of hardwoods, eventually causing a white rot in the tree. It is very similar to the Hen of the Woods (Maitake) mushroom.
In the wild, they can weigh up to ten kilos (22 pounds), although some in Japan have reached 45 kilos (99 pounds).
The mushroom has only been in cultivation since the 1970s.
Before that time, it could only be found in the wild, where once again, locations were carefully guarded and handed down from father to son – but only on his deathbed!
In eastern France, locations are still carefully protected and kept secret.
This is a tasty mushroom with a flavour similar to an eggplant. The caps are dry with no greasy feeling when rubbed.
For centuries, it has been used medicinally in China as a diuretic which modern scientific study has verified.
Evidence-based healing benefits of Zhu Ling include:
- helps promote hair regrowth
- prolongs the lifespan of liver cancer patients when used with mitomycin C
- improves Hep C conditions when used with Red Sage
Other study sources also found similar benefits: