Turkey Tails – Trametes & Stereum

These two mushrooms are often confused with each other as they have a similar appearance, both resembling a turkey’s tail, fan-like and with bands of muted browns, gray-blues, tans, whites and even green (when colonized by algae). Both are common year round on dead and dying wood, and both are white rot decomposers, eating the brown lignons in wood, leaving the white cellulose for other fungi. Trametes versicolor is the true turkey tail, whereas Stereum ostrea is known as false turkey tail. It is not a polypore like T. versicolor, it has no pores underneath the cap, and is classed as a crust fungi.

Sterium ostea, aka False Turkey Tail
Sterium ostea, aka False Turkey Tail
Sterium ostrea underside, note the smooth surface, no pores, ridges or teeth.
Sterium ostrea underside, note the smooth surface, no pores, ridges or teeth.
Trametes versicolor, aka Turkey Tail
Trametes versicolor, aka Turkey Tail
Trametes versicolor pores
Trametes versicolor pores
Phlebia incarnata, Sterium ostrea
Sterium ostrea with Phlebia incarnata being the pink one. P. incarnata is always found growing with Stereum, but Stereum is often found alone.

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