Taming the Wild Chicken of the Woods

Finding wild mushrooms, then cloning and domesticating them is one of the most fun and challenging mycological exercises for me. I have been successful cloning wild Turkey Tail, as well as King Oysters from the store, today I’m trying to tame a wild Chicken of the Woods. This one appears every year about this time. It seems to be higher up the tree each year. This year it was too high to get with the ladder so I brought an arborists’ pole saw.

A fresh part of the growing edge was put into Hydrogen Peroxide. (H2O2) to clean the outside, and then transferred to the prepped glove box. Because I’m cloning to nutrifed agar I must use sterile techniques. Gloves and Tyvek sleeves misted with isopropyl alcohol keep your germs out of the clean space. The blade is flame sterilized (careful with the alcohol around). The mushroom is torn open to prevent the blade transferring contaminants from the surface. A small piece is deftly transferred to the plate. The plate is sealed with ParaFilm or a homemade equivalent. Plates are labeled and incubated. After you are finished clonong, seal the petri dishes. Instead of ParaFilm I make my own sealing tape with short widths cut from a roll of cellophane.

Five days later, after returning from the Cain Foray (where we ate the Chicken, along with many other fungal delights cooked up by Chefs  Dwayne and Garrett) to find a pretty good results. All of the plates show growth in all directions (if perhaps a bit thin), and there doesn’t seem to be any contamination.

Stay tuned for more…

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