Tree and Plant Identification #2 – Chaga

Journal Notes:  A fungus that is parasitic on birch and other trees, known for its medicinal properties. The sterile conk is irregular in shape and looks like burnt charcoal. This isn’t the fruiting part of the fungus but a mass of mycelium (vegetative matter). The fruiting body will usually appear after the tree is dead. It can be found year round in cold type climates. To prepare it for consumption you can ground it into a fine powder and brew it like a tea or you can boil chunks of it in a pot or kettle and serve the water that way, reusing the chunks for several servings. Harvest fall through winter until the sap starts flowing and never take from a dead tree. Also can be used as tinder and a coal extender. It has a sort of look alike often called False Tinder Fungus or Horse Hoof fungus that is inedible but it’s not poisonous.

Disclaimer:  As far as we know the information provided is accurate. New England Woods LLC DOES NOT recommend any person or animal touch, taste, ingest, harvest, etc any plant material or organic matter found outdoors without receiving proper training from an expert in foraging, botany or biology, as well as consulting a health professional first. New England Woods LLC, its staff and volunteers ARE NOT experts, biologists, botanists or professional foragers. New England Woods LLC and its volunteers and staff, ARE NOT liable for any injury, allergy, or death which may result from information found on this website. This website and blog are intended to distribute general and basic information only. 

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2 thoughts on “Tree and Plant Identification #2 – Chaga

  1. I could be wrong, but I have seen tiny black splotches on Sweet Birch that appear to be “burnt” parts of the bark…could these be very young formations of Chaga?

    • Good question! Don’t know…maybe just early indication of the vertical “cracks” appearing?? Someone else was telling me they they recently found chaga growing on a sweet birch. Thanks for your comments and question Jay!

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