Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)
This time of year it's common to come across the "fruiting bodies" of fungus, from giant puff ball mushrooms to beautiful shelf fungus. One of the most common types of shelf fungus you'll see are Laetiporus sulphureus mushrooms, often called "chicken of the woods" or "chicken fungus." They are edible fungus with bright yellow-orange coloration and a white edge. You can be sure of your identification if the underside of the fungus doesn't have gills, but small pores. Of course the usual cautions apply, make sure you know it is truly edible before you eat it! The brackets of these fungi can be up to about 5" each and collectively they can weigh several pounds. The younger the fungus the more yellow it is. As the fungi age they turn more whitish. The softer and more yellow the fungus the better it is for eating!