Discover the truth about maitake mushroom : is it psychedelic or a superfood

Discover the truth about maitake mushroom : is it psychedelic or a superfood

Is maitake mushroom psychedelic?

Maitake mushroom is also titled “hen of the woods” and “Grifola Frondosa”. It is an edible type of fungi which thrives on temperate climate in the woods all over the world. Maitake is broadly common in Asia in the culinary world and in the traditional medicine. Its’ Japanese name means “dancing mushroom” and in Chinese it means “tree flower”. Oak and maple trees are the typical places where maitake mushroom grows. Grifola Frondosa can reach up to 45 kilograms. The title “dancing mushroom” is connected with the story that tells that the founders of this fungi danced with joy after consuming it. Their dance was based on the unique taste of the mushroom and the presence of plenty of medicinal properties, not on hallucinations. Maitake is a non-hallucinogenic fungi.


The majority of the studies on maitake are concentrated on its polysaccharides and especially alpha- and beta-glucans. The current researches are focused on the extracts of this mushroom in terms of their medical advantages in curing illnesses the most important of which are diabetes and cancer. The conclusions of the studies are based on animal tests and human studies need to be continued in order to prove the health benefits of maitake.

Maitake mushroom features

Grifola Frondosa is in the group of reishi mushroom which is called polypore. Polypores carry their title because of the small pores in the underside of the fruiting body of maitake where spores are released. The species are perennial which means that maitake mushrooms would grow on the same place if the environmental conditions are positive. If a patch is found, it is recommended to mark the exact location for the next year to harvest this fungi. Grifola Frondosa dissolves nutrients in the host tree that are stored in their bases and next they return to the ecosystem of the woods they grow in.

Maitake Mushroom Growth Locations

The “dancing mushroom” grows at the base of the so called broadleaved trees, exclusively oak, that are weak because of illnesses, old age, or perhaps a sudden thunder strike. The trees typically harvest the mushrooms from late summer to early fall. Originally maitake grows in Japan, but it also inhabits China, the northwest coast of North America and last but not least – mainland Europe.

How to identify Maitake mushrooms?

Maitake is a remarkable fungi for examination. It grows on the base of its host tree but its unique fruiting body might be hidden under fallen leaves and forest debris. The whole mushroom bunch may reach over 100 cm. Maitakes colour might range from brown to gray to cream. Occasionally lighter colours point out older mushrooms. The white pores become light brown when the mushrooms become more mature. The spore prints of maitake are white.

Which mushrooms look similar to maitake?

There are a few mushrooms that may be mistaken for Grifola Frondosa. Black staining polypore looks similar to maitake. Its name comes from its feature to change its color to dark brown or black when damaged. The difference with maitake is that Grifola Frondosa does not change its color when bruised. Another difference is that the black staining polypore does not have a significant taste. It is not defined as poisonous, but people with sensitive stomachs should be aware that it might cause gastric upset.

Cauliflower mushroom is another look-alike. It grows on ground level on trees as maitake but the difference is in the color – it is more pale and soft looking than Grifola Frondosa. The cauliflower mushroom grows at the base of Scots pine specifically. In addition, it does not have white pores which is a common feature of maitake. In terms of taste, cauliflower mushroom is a competitor to maitake, it is not only edible, but also tasty on its own.

Chicken of the woods is an edible and tasty similar mushroom to maitake. In comparison with maitake, chicken of the woods grows further up trees and its color is yellow-orange. Caution: yew trees are not a good source of chicken of the woods and picking from them is not recommended. Furthermore chicken of the woods that grows on yew trees is considered poisonous. The yew tree itself is defined as poisonous. And the mushroom itself could concentrate toxic taxine alkaloids during the process of growth. The alkaloids spread everywhere in the tree and remain active in the dead parts of yew tree. It is best to avoid picking up chicken of the woods from a felled tree.

The so called “dancing mushroom” is not psychedelic, in other words it is non-hallucinogenic, but it is edible, tasty and full of nutrients.

Maitake mushroom is available for purchasing as a natural supplement in the form of capsules here:

Back to blog

Leave a comment