Trametes versicolor

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Trametes versicolor
Trametes versicolor G4 (1).JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Polyporales
Family: Polyporaceae
Genus: Trametes
T. versicolor
Binomial name
Trametes versicolor
(L.) Lloyd (1920)

Boletus versicolor L. (1753)
Polyporus versicolor (L.) Fr. (1821)
Coriolus versicolor (L.) Quél. (1886)

Trametes versicolor
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
pores on hymenium
cap is offset or indistinct
hymenium is decurrent
lacks a stipe
spore print is white to yellow
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: inedible

Trametes versicolor – also known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor – is a common polypore mushroom found throughout the world. Meaning 'of several colors', versicolor reliably describes this fungus that displays different colors. For example, because its shape and multiple colors are similar to those of a wild turkey, T. versicolor is commonly called turkey tail. A similar looking mushroom, commonly called false turkey tail, which is from a different order, may sometimes be confused with the turkey tail mushroom due to appearance. Another lookalike is the multicolor gill polypore.[1]

Description and ecology[edit]

The top surface of the cap shows typical concentric zones of different colors, and the margin is always the lightest.[1] The flesh is 1–3 mm thick and has leathery texture. Older specimens, such as the one pictured, can have zones with green algae growing on them, thus appearing green. It commonly grows in tiled layers on in groups or rows on logs and stumps of deciduous trees, and is very common in North America.[1] The mushroom is stalkless and the cap is rust-brown or darker brown, sometimes with blackish zones. The cap is flat, up to 8 × 5 x 0.5–1 cm in area. It is often triangular or round, with zones of fine hairs. The pore surface is whitish to light brown, with pores round and with age twisted and labyrinthine. 3–8 pores per millimeter.

It may be eaten by caterpillars of the fungus moth Nemaxera betulinella and by maggots of the Platypezid fly Polyporivora picta.[2] and the fungus gnat Mycetophila luctuosa,[3] but is considered inedible to humans.[4]


Trametes versicolor contains polysaccharides under basic research, including the protein-bound PSP and β-1,3 and β-1,4 glucans. The lipid fraction contains the lanostane-type tetracyclic triterpenoid sterol ergosta-7,22,dien-3β-ol as well as fungisterol and β-sitosterol.[5][6]

Uses and research[edit]

Human medicine[edit]

Polysaccharide-K (PSK or krestin), extracted from T. versicolor, is considered safe for use as an adjunct therapy for cancer treatment in Japan where it is known as kawaratake (roof tile mushroom) and approved for clinical use.[7][8] As a glycoprotein mixture, PSK has been studied in clinical research in people with various cancers and immune deficiencies, but its efficacy remains inconclusive, as of 2021.[7][9][10][11]

Traditional medicine and dietary supplement[edit]

Trametes versicolor is used in traditional Chinese medicine or other herbalism practices.[7][12] In some countries, PSK is sold as a dietary supplement.[8][11] Use of PSK may cause adverse effects, such as diarrhea, darkened feces, or darkened finger nails.[9]

FDA warnings[edit]

In 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to two manufacturers for advertising misbranded T. versicolor PSK supplements as anti-cancer or immune therapy drugs, stating such products "are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced uses and, therefore, these products are "new drugs" under section 201(p) of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 321(p). New drugs may not be legally introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce without prior approval from the FDA."[13][14]


Some may be concerned about the mushroom damaging or killing trees and wish to remove them. Removal of the mushroom and pruning may help affected trees survive.[15]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Turkey Tail". MDC Discover Nature. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  2. ^ Chandler, Peter J. (2001), The Flat-footed flies (Opetiidae and Platypezidae) of Europe, Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, 36, Leiden: Brill, pp. 1–278, ISBN 90-04-12023-8
  3. ^ Jakovlev, Jevgeni (2011), "Fungus gnats (Diptera: Sciaroidea) associated with dead wood and wood growing fungi: New rearing data from Finland and Russian Karelia and general analysis of known larval microhabitats in Europe", Entomologica Fennica, 22 (3), doi:10.33338/ef.4693
  4. ^ Meuninck, Jim (2017). Foraging Mushrooms Oregon: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Mushrooms. Falcon Guides. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-4930-2669-2.
  5. ^ Yokoyama, A (1975). "Distribution of tetracyclic triterpenoids of lanostane group and sterols in higher fungi especially of the polyporacea and related families". Phytochemistry. 14 (2): 487–497. doi:10.1016/0031-9422(75)85115-6.
  6. ^ Endo, S (1981). "Lipids of five species of polyporacea". Tokyo Gakugei. 16.
  7. ^ a b c "Turkey tail and polysaccharide-K. In: Medicinal Mushrooms". National Cancer Institute, US National Institutes of Health. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  8. ^ a b Huaiqian Dou; others (2019). Glycans and glycosaminoglycans as clinical biomarkers and therapeutics - Part B. In: Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science, Trametes versicolor - an overview : Ed.: Lijuan Zhang. 163. Elsevier Inc. pp. 1–533. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Turkey tail". 21 October 2020. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Coriolus versicolor". Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY. 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  11. ^ a b Habtemariam, S (25 May 2020). "Trametes versicolor (Synn. Coriolus versicolor). Polysaccharides in cancer therapy: targets and efficacy". Biomedicines. 8 (5): 135. doi:10.3390/biomedicines8050135. ISSN 2227-9059. PMC 7277906. PMID 32466253.
  12. ^ Meuninck, Jim (2017). Foraging Mushrooms Oregon: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Mushrooms. Falcon Guides. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-4930-2669-2.
  13. ^ Steven B Barber (3 November 2020). "Warning letter 609440: Half Hill Farm Inc". US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  14. ^ Ronald M Pace (1 December 2020). "Warning letter 610361: Mushroom Revival, Inc". US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  15. ^ "How to Get Rid of Turkey Tail Mushroom". Home Guides | SF Gate. Retrieved 16 February 2021.

External links[edit]