Cauliflower Fungus - Sparissis crispa

Main features

  • Found on conifer stumps especially Pine

  • Fruitbody consists of many folds of scraggy flesh

  • Flesh is cream-coloured and browns with age

  • Reaches 40cm wide and 25cm tall

  • Smells sweet

  • Spores are dirty white

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Cauliflower Fungus - Sparissis crispa

Edible mushroom - novice

Other common names: Cauliflower Mushroom, Wood Cauliflower

 

Scientific name meaning: Sparissis comes from the Greek word Sparagmos meaning to tear. Crispa is from the Latin Crispo, meaning to curl 

Season - when will I find it? Summer to Autumn
 

Habitat - where will I find it? Growing on conifer stumps, especially Pine

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: A saprobic fungus found as individual fruit bodies and small groups on coniferous stumps

Fruitbody: Size is up to 40cm wide and 25cm tall. Cream coloured when young, but browning with age. Has many folds of scraggy flesh, resembling a bundle of pale-coloured seaweed

Pores: The pore surface is cream coloured and too small to see with the naked eye 

Stem: No real discernible stem

Flesh: Cream, browning with age

Smell: Sweet

Spore colour: Dirty white

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with the Spatula Cauliflower (Sparissis spathulata), but the folded flesh is much flatter. It is also edible but not considered as tasty. Could also be cnfused with Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa), but this has thicker flesh, is more grey coloured and grows on Oak

Use as a food Cauliflower Fungus has a lovely hazelnut-like taste and a chewy texture. 

Only young, fresh specimens should be used for eating. Older specimens are tough and full of forest detritus. 

See Hazards regarding other consumption warnings

Use in herbal medicine Has been found to increase wound healing in diabetes mellitus patients, increase haemoglobin production, have anti-tumour properties, and have anti-fungal properties under lab conditions

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards This mushroom is often very dirty and requires extensive cleaning

Importance to other species Provides food for slugs and snails

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!