Scientific Names: Sparassis Crispa
or S Spathulata
and S. Herbstii
. The Sparassis Crispa is known as the western U.S. species which contains a stem while the S. Herbstii, S. Ratica and S. Spathulata are known as the eastern U.S. species which does not grow with a stem. Often found growing at the base of pine, spruce or oak stumps, the Cauliflower fungus is large in size and unlike a typical mushroom with a cap. The diameter of the mushroom may range from 7 to 20 inches wide. The shape of the Cauliflower Mushroom is irregular and sponge-like with many wavy, frilly layers or folds of fleshy growth. Because of the intricate growth throughout the mushroom, it is wise to cut the Cauliflower mushroom into sections and use a soft bristle brush to clean dirt, debris and insects out of this fungus.
When selecting, choose those with a cream to creamy white coloring. The color of the Cauliflower Mushroom can range from white to light tan and white or white and pale grey. When preparing the Cauliflower Mushroom, cut the fresh fungus into slices and use as an ingredient for casseroles or stews. It is often served as an appetizer after it has been thinly sliced, coated with a beer batter and deep-fried. When cooked, the mushroom provides a mild nutty flavor. This mushroom may also be referred to as a White Fungus