Hen of the Woods (Maitake)
Large circular cluster of spoon-shaped caps; grayish brown on top and white beneath; single, branching, whitish base. Grows on the ground at the base of oak trees. September–November. Each cap spoon- or fan-shaped; grayish to gray-brown to brownish. Pores angular; white to yellowish. Stalk short; branching; white. Spore print white. Spores magnified are elliptical, smooth.
Lookalikes: Black-staining polypore (Meripilus sumstinei) blackens when bruised or handled. Berkeley’s polypore (Bondarzewia berkeleyi) is thick-fleshed and cream-colored. Eastern cauliflower mushroom (Sparassis spatulata) has ribbonlike folds. Remember that hen of the woods is a pore fungus (polypore) and lacks gills.