Bonus Mushroom Day: Cauliflower Mushroom (Sparassis crispa)

Money grows on mushrooms

That’s right, wild mushroom week has been extended to include this beauty! While hunting for chanterelles recently, I came across this mushroom growing at the base of a Douglas Fir tree. A few weeks ago I was flipping through pages of a mushroom identification guide and saw the cauliflower mushroom. I thought to myself, that would be a fun mushroom to find in the woods! It has manifested itself into my reality because I now have a cauliflower mushroom in my possession and I can’t figure out what to do with it.

I’m excited to share that there are no toxic lookalikes, so it was pretty easy to identify it and feel confident. The one I found is pretty small. They can grow up to a foot and a half in height and weigh up to 30 pounds. They start to appear at this time of year, so luckily I found a small one to work with. It looks like a ball of egg noodles and it’s quite firm in texture which may mean chewy. My plan is to saute some of it and throw the rest in a wild mushroom barley soup with the chanterelles and lobster mushrooms. I’ll report on the results.

Sauteed with a little bit of garlic

Cauliflower mushrooms, like the lobsters, are parasites. They grow at the base of conifer trees, but are not a common mushroom. They prefer old-growth forests and should be cut at the base so it can continue to grow again. If it is pulled out of the ground by the root, it is gone forever. Descriptions of this mushroom include: brain, cauliflower, seasponge. They are commercially sold as white fungus. I found the scent of the mushroom to be pretty unique. It was sort a a sweet spicy sour, which I doubt is a helpful descriptor. My book calls it “musky,” which is much more accurate. Like boys’ cologne in the 90′s.

It supposedly freezes and dries well, but I can’t prove it because I’m going to cook it all up today!

8 Responses to “Bonus Mushroom Day: Cauliflower Mushroom (Sparassis crispa)”

  1. Jeni Treehugger Says:

    Another awesome shroom!
    And they grow to a foot and a half in height! Oh my!
    Can’t wait to hear how it tasted.

  2. Chelsea Says:

    Wow, what a great find!

  3. Bethany Says:

    that looks so cool and fluffy. beautiful. it must be mushroom time right now in seattle, because they are suddenly all over my lawn. I also have a huge colony of this cool looking leaflike lichen.

  4. Jennifer Says:

    You are mushroom crazy! :-) Seriously, you are providing your readers such a mushroom education by highlighting all of these different varieties! I’ve never seen this mushroom or the ones you posted about on Oct. 20th. Very cool!

  5. Alison linton Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam

    i notice that you have used one of my photographs from the website I own the copywrite to these pictures and should be grateful if you would acknowledge me and acknowledge fungiworld. You are welcome to use some of my pictures as long as you are polite and ask permission first!


    Alison Linton

  6. Julius Scianna Says:

    Hello, your website is interesting. The content is really new, but sorry i don’t like your wordpress theme, maybe you find better wp designs when you search on google for “the best wordpress themes”.

  7. kimmykokonut Says:

    i like my wp theme, thanks for your opinion though.

  8. kimmykokonut Says:

    These photos were taken by me, with my camera, of mushrooms I foraged. I think you are mistaken.

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