A large, fleshy polypore, dark grey/brown when young, becoming
lighter gray in age. (Some varieties fade to a light yellow at
maturity). Fruit body is composed of multiple, overlapping caps, 2-10
cm. in diameter, arising from branching stems, eccentrically attached,
and sharing a common base. Young fruitbodies are adorned with fine grey
fibrils. The pores on the underside of the caps are white.
White, longitudinally linear, eventually thickly cottony on enriched
agar media, non-rhizomorphic. The mycelium grows out unevenly, not
forming the circular colonies typical of mort mushrooms. Regions of the
mycelium surge while other regions abate in their rate of growth. This
pattern of growth seems characteristic of the species, as some have
seen it in the majority of the many strains of G. frondosa.
Often times, the mycelium develops light tawny brown tones along the
outside peripheral edges in aging. At maturity, the dense mycelial mat
can be peeled directly off the agar media. Once on sawdust, many
strains have mycelia which develop strong yellowish to orangish brown
mottled wones, exuding a yellowish orange metabolite. Sawdust spawn,
when young, is white. As the spawn matures, rust colors prevail.
Mycrospic Features: This mushroom produces white spores.
Suggested Agar Culture Media: Malt Yeast Agar (MYA), Malt Yeast Peptone Agar (MYPA), Potato Dextrose Yeast Agar (PDYA), or Dog Food Agar (DFA).
Grain-to-grain expansions. The final spawn medium can be another
generation of grain spawn, or alternatively sawdust. The sawdust spawn
can be used to inoculate supplemented sawdust (i.e. sawdust/chips/bran)
or plugs for outdoor cultivation in stumps or partially buried,
vertically positioned, large diameter hardwood logs. Considering the
long incubation period, cultivators are well advised to weigh the
advantages of creating another generation of sawdust spawn. The
advantage of the grain spawn-inoculated bags is that they produce
several weeks earlier than do the sawdust-inoculated blocks. However,
the quality of colonization is better provided by spawn made of sawdust
than from grain.
Substrates for Fruiting:
Supplemented hardwood sawdust, particularly oak, poplar, cottonwood,
elm, willow, and alder. Alder and poplar stumps are less likely to
support outdoor fruitings, given the hold competitors like Pleurotus ostreatus
and allies have on that niche. For indoor cultivation, yields vary
substantially between various wood types. Oak is generally preferred,
although strains growing on conifers are being developed.
Yield Potentials: 1/2 to 2 lbs. mushroom per 5-7 lbs. or sterilized, enriched hardwood sawdust.
- Incubation Temperature: 70-75* F (21-24* C)
- Relative Humidity: 95-100%
- Duration: 14-30 days, the dormant for 30 days
- CO2: 20,000-40,000 ppm
- Fresh Air Exchange: 0-1
- Light Requirements: n/a
Antler ("Stem") Formation
- Initiation Temperature: 50-60* F (10-15.6* C)
- Relative Humidity: 95%
- Duration: 5-10 days CO2: 2000-5000 ppm
- Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-8 per day
- Light Requirements: 100-500 lux
- Temperature: 50-60* F (10-15.6* C)
- Relative Humidity: 95%
- Duration: 10-14 days
- Co2: 2000-5000 ppm
- Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-8 per hour
- Light Requirements: 100-500 lux.
- Temperature: 55-60* (65*) F (13-16* (18*) C)
- Relative Humidity: 85-90%
- Duration: 14-21 days
- Co2: <1000 ppm
- Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-8 per hour
- Light Requirements: 500-1000 lux.
- Every 3-4 weeks, for a maximum of two flushes.
This species is delicious and much sought-after. Specimens weighing up
to 100 lbs. have been collected at the base of tewws, snags, or stumps.
Although primarily a saprophyte, G. frondosa behaves facultatively as a parasite, attacking trees dying from other causes, especially elms and oaks.
to Paul Stamets, only a few strains isolated from the wild perform
under artificial conditions. Those which do fruit, mature best if the
environment is held constant between 55-60* F (13-16* C). Substantial
fluctuation beyond this temperature range arrests fruit body
development. The best fruitings are those which form slowly and are
localized from one or two sites of primordia formation. When Maitake is
incubated outside the ideal temperature range, the fruitbody initials
fail to further differentiate. Should the entire surface of the block
be encouraged to form primordia, an aborted plateau of short folds
Fruitbody development passes through four distinct phases.
During initiation, the mycelium first undergoes a rapid discoloration
from white undifferentiated mycelium to a dark grey amorphous mass on
teh exposed surface of the fully colonized block. During the second
phase, the surface topography soon becomes contoured with dark
gre/black mounds which differentiate into ball-like structures. the
third phase begins when portions of this primordia ball shoot out
multiple stems topped with globular structures. Each globular structure
further differentiates with vertically oriented ridges or folds. The
fourth and final phase begins when, from this primordial mass, a
protion of the folds elongate into the petal-like sporulating fronds or
"leaflets". With some strains and under some conditions, the third
phase is skipped.
The strategy for the successful cultivation of
Maitake is in diametric opposition to the cultivation of Oyster
mushrooms. If Maitake is exposed to substantial and prolonged light
during the primordia formation period, the spore-producing hymenophore
is triggered into production. This results in dome shaped primorial
masses, devoid of stems. If, however, minimal light is given, and
carbon dioxide levels remain above 5000 ppm, stem formation is
encouraged. (Elongated stem formation with Oyster cultivation is
generally considered undesirable). Once the stems have branched and
elongated to two or more inches, carbon dioxide levels are lowered,
light levels are increased, signaling Maitake to produce the
sporulating, petal-shaped caps. Humidity must be fluctuated between
80-95%. Maitake, being a polypore, enjoys less humid environments than
the fleshier, gilled mushrooms.
If growing in polypropylend
bags, the bags should be opened narrowly at the top so that a forking
bouquet is elicited. Stripping off all the plastic increases
evaporation from the exposed surfaces of the block, jeopardizing the
moisture bank needed for successful fruit body development. Given good
environmental controls an dmanagement, successful attempts at growing
Maitake by fully exposing the upper surface of the mycelium once the
grey primordial mounds have formed 45-60 days after inoculation. Leave
the remainder of the plastic around the block to amerliorate the loss
of water. Holes are punched in the bottom of the bags for drainage.
the mushrooms develop, less watering is needed in comparison to that
needed by, for instance, Oyster mushrooms. Furthermore, cultivators
should note that if too much base nutrition of the substrate is
allocated to stem formation, the caps often abort. If the sawdust is
over-supplemented, bacteria blotch is triggered by the slightest
exposure to excessive watering or humidity. Every strain behaves
differently in this regard. Maitake cultivation requires greater
attention to detail than most other mushrooms. Because of its unique
environmental requirements, this mushroom can not share the same
growing room as many of the fleshier gourmet and medicinal mushrooms.
the production blocks cease producing, they can be buried outside in
hardwood sawdust and or soil. In outdoor environments, the subterranean
block becomes a platform for more fruitings, maximizing yield. Blocks
planted in the spring often give rice to fruitings in the fall. The
autoclavable, plastic should be removed, unless made of cellulose or
other biodegradable material. By scratching the outer surfaces of the
blocks, the internal mycelium comes into direct contact with the
sawdust bedding, stimulating leap-off.
(Information taken from Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, Paul Stamets)