Colourfully Versatile – Turkeytail Fungus

This is another perennial bracket fungus that is extremely common. If you find them at the right time in their life-cycle you’ll be witness to some beautiful displays that are visually stunning.

Turkeytail fungusWhat we have here is Turkeytail (trametes-versicolor) and is often layered in tiered groups on deciduous wood all year round. I often find these in ‘full bloom’ (so to speak) during the summer months. The pictures shown here are a selection from last June.

The common English name is very apt due to distinctive fan-like shape and concentric mix of colours involved, very similar indeed to that of a Turkeys’ tail feathers. You learn something new everyday!

The ‘versicolor’ description in the scientific name explains the changeable range of colours in which they can be found, such as shades of brown, blues, greys and greens. But whatever variable colour set you find, the thin wavy edge always remains creamy white. There are other Trametes species that do not share this feature.

The upper surface to touch is often variable too, depending on the weather conditions and age of the specimen. When younger, the texture is like a soft velvet, but this becomes smoother and less velvety with age.

The creamy white underside as you’ve probably guessed consists of many tiny round pores, with a few that are angular here and there. The flesh too is white with a tough and leathery consistency. Not really an edible species. It has no real taste to speak of anyway. Never mind.

But keep a look out for Turkeytail this autumn. I hope you get lucky and see some great examples of this pretty bracket.

The varied colours of the the small bracket fungus Turkeytail - Trametes versicolor)

Notice the varied mix of colours shown here of the common bracket fungus Turkeytail – Trametes versicolor. The margin is always cream/white and and nearly always thin and wavy.

QUICK ID TABLE: TURKEYTAIL Trametes versicolor


4-10cm x 3-5cm. 0.1-0.5cm thickness. Often in large tiered groups, overlapping each other. Upper surface extremely variable in mixed colours. Concentric pattern. White wavy edge.


White / Smooth. Matures to ochre.


Small and circular often with irregular, angular pores too.
Spore Print: White (see how to take a spore print here).


All year round. Growing on deciduous wood. Very common.


Inedible. Too tough. Tastless.

The Genus POLYPORUS (Polypores): Characteristics to look out for:

• Nearly all are bracket fungi, but a few are with typical cap and stem but with pores instead of gills underside.
• Usually tough or hard and woody.
• Many are perennial or annual

12 replies
  1. Peter Drewett
    Peter Drewett says:

    This is a favourite website of mine – it works! and is interesting to me. I have some photos of fungi I can’t identify but am trying to find a way to send them to you – not good with ‘puters so I must wait for my son-in-law to put me right. I look forward to the next posting.
    regards P.D.

    • J C Harris
      J C Harris says:

      Glad you’re enjoying the mushroom blog. I enjoying making it just as much. Send pictures when you can, but to pre-warn you, I’m very busy with enquiries etc. this time of year and I’m struggling to get replies back to people. I’ll do my best.

  2. amanda
    amanda says:

    Just found your Blog as I have just got into Fungi, spent the summer learning about wild flowers and naming them…thought I would be ok with Fungi! How wrong was I…
    Have managed to name a few by using your blog. Thanks, a long way to go..
    It is as much about the “chase” finding them and photographing them, that I like.
    Will be popping back again.. just wanted to say Hi…

    • J C Harris
      J C Harris says:

      Hi Amanda. Thanks for reading the blog. I agree – I love the hunt and getting some good pictures along the way. If there are any lovely edible mushrooms then that’s a bonus.

  3. Neal
    Neal says:

    Really like your website :) So many wonderful mushrooms out there I have recently got into; finding Birch Polypore mushrooms to make my own medicinal tea from. If your interested in medicinal mushrooms please check out my site. Keep up the good work Neal

  4. Natalia
    Natalia says:

    Hello my name is Natalia Muñoz from Costa Rica, I stay in Cruden Bay, Scotland until late of May.

    I work in my country with Ganoderma Lucidum. I grow it and I make products to sale.

    I wondering if I you know where I can go to hunt or see medicinal mushrooms, like with somebody because obviously I don’t know.
    I will enjoy so much.

    Thank you very much for your time.


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