Last Updated - 2.24.2015
Edible Wild Mushrooms Commonly Found In Pennsylvania And Personally Eaten Regularly
Formerly Aborted entoloma
Bear's Head Tooth
Brick Caps / Brick Tops
Chicken of the Woods
Corrugated Cap Milky
Hedgehog Mushroom Big
Hen of the Woods
Horn of Plenty
Xanthoconium separans / Boletus separans
Lingzhi / Reishi
Ganoderma lucidum & G. tsugae
Lion's Mane / Old Man's Beard
Meadow Mushrooms / Pinkies
Quilted Green Russula
Trametes versicolor / Coriolus versicolor / Polyporus versicolor
RARE FINDS and/or QUESTIONABLE
The Prince ? or Almond Mushroom ?
Agaricus augustus or A. subrufescens
Hen of the Woods - Sheephead - Sheep's Head - Ram's Head - Maitake
Here is a scenario:
A closer view of what you want to find. Many lobes / caps, spoon shaped, on several branching white stalks arising from a main base - and thin fleshed.
And another. Dark brown.
Here's my pride and joy. A rare white Maitake. The boot is size 13. This turned out to be a 12 pound specimen in excellent condition.
Note there are no gills on Sheepshead. They have a multitude of very tiny pores ( poly ), hence their Genera name - polypore. The underside is white. White spore print.
Find them growing at the base of trees and/or stumps - preferably oak, but also found on big old beech trees and other deciduous trees.
However, don't be surprised to find them a bit higher on a tree.
Best practice is to use a large sharp knife and carefully cut the base from the ground / tree. If you are careful with removing the Sheephead it will grow again for the next few years - as long as the nutrients are still present in the tree and the weather conditions are condusive to its growth.
This is NOT a Sheep's Head, although it looks very close.
If it's like the one in the photo above you will be dissappointed.
It's a ' Black Staining Polypore' (Meripilus giganteus ).
Although edible, it is far from being a choice morsel like the Sheephead. More than likely, if you find it and it is large, it is probably too tough to eat. Edible while very young and while still a bit squeezable but not great.
Unfortunately, people that are anxious and not that well informed about polypore type mushrooms have picked these 'Stainers' thinking they found a Sheephead. There can be a lot of similarity so it's understandable that such errors can happen.
Here is another one that gets mistaken for Sheepshead on occasion - ' Berkeley's Polypore ' ( Bondarzewia berkeleyi ).
I sell Maitake every year during the season. Portion size is per pound @ $5.00.
Grifola frondosa ( formerly Polyporus frondosus ) - A/K/A - Sheephead, Hen of the Woods and Maitake ( maetake )
Weather conditions: Damp. However I would characterize the two weeks prior to finding them on the dry side.