Let’s begin with the foot-loose fungi, the Maitake Mushroom.

In Japanese, Maitake means dancing. The remarkable mushroom is so renowned for its healing effects that it is said people would dance with joy whenever they found this rare beauty. In the West, they’re often known as “Hen of the Woods,” but other names include “sheep’s head,” “ram’s head,” and even “the king of the mushrooms.”

They’re wildly popular in Japan and China, being sought after not just for their invigorating vitality, but also, for their delicious taste. However, the mushroom craze is rubbing off on the West. Increasingly Maitake has been gaining popularity in the US in recent decades.

Most often they are found nuzzled in the damp woodland, growing in dusky brown fans from mossy logs and branches. They prefer to grow on Oak, Elm, and Maple trees, with their fungi bodies fruiting in the autumn months. You can grow them at home, but they prefer the wild woods. They’re a polypore mushroom. So, they don’t have the classic gills but instead spread their spores from tiny pores on their underside.