Trametes versicolor

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"Turkey tail" redirects here. For the tail of a turkey, see Pygostyle.

Trametes versicolor – also known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor – is a common polypore mushroom found throughout the world. Meaning 'of several colours', versicolor reliably describes this mushroom found in different colors. By example, due to its resembling multiple colors in the tail of wild turkey, T. versicolor is commonly called turkey tail.

Description and ecology[edit]

The top surface of the cap shows typical concentric zones of different colours. 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. The cap is rust-brown or darker brown, sometimes with blackish zones. The cap is flat, up to 8 x 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, pores round and with age twisted and labyrinthine. 2-5 pores per millimeter.

It may be eaten by caterpillars of the fungus moth Nemaxera betulinella and by maggots of the Platypezid fly Polyporivora picta.[1]


T. versicolor contains polysaccharides under basic research, including the protein-bound PSP and B-1,3 and B-1,4 glucans. The lipid fraction contains the lanostane-type tetracyclic triterpenoid sterol ergosta-7,22,dien-3B-ol as well as fungisterol and B-sitosterol.[2][3]

Research and uses[edit]

Main article: Polysaccharide-K

According to the American Cancer Society: "Available scientific evidence does not support claims that the raw mushroom itself is an effective anti-cancer agent in humans. But there is some scientific evidence that substances derived from parts of the mushroom may be useful against cancer."[4]

Polysaccharide-K (PSK) displays anticancer activity in laboratory studies[5] and in preliminary human research.[6] PSK is possibly useful as an adjuvant in the treatment of gastric, esophageal, colorectal, breast and lung cancers.[7] PSK adjuvants are under study for their potential to affect cancer recurrence.[6] [8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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 
  2. ^ Yokoyama, A (1975). "Distribution of tetracyclic triterpenoids of lanostane group and sterols in higher fungi especially of the polyporacea and related families.". Phytochemistry 14: 487–497. 
  3. ^ Endo, S (1981). "Lipids of five species of polyporacea". Tokyo Gakugei 16. 
  4. ^ "Coriolus Versicolor". American Cancer Society. November 2008. 
  5. ^ Yamasaki A, Shoda M, Iijima H; et al. (March 2009), "A protein-bound polysaccharide, PSK, enhances tumor suppression induced by docetaxel in a gastric cancer xenograft model", Anticancer Res. 29 (3): 843–50, PMID 19414318. 
  6. ^ a b Oba K, Teramukai S, Kobayashi M, Matsui T, Kodera Y, Sakamoto J (June 2007), "Efficacy of adjuvant immunochemotherapy with polysaccharide K for patients with curative resections of gastric cancer", Cancer Immunol. Immunother. 56 (6): 905–11, doi:10.1007/s00262-006-0248-1, PMID 17106715. 
  7. ^ Fisher, M. Y.; Yang, L. X. (May 2002). "Anticancer effects and mechanisms of polysaccharide-K (PSK): implications of cancer immunotherapy". Anticancer research 22 (3): 1737–1754. ISSN 0250-7005. PMID 12168863. 
  8. ^ Sugimachi K, Maehara Y, Ogawa M, Kakegawa T, Tomita M (4 August 1997), "Dose intensity of uracil and tegafur in postoperative chemotherapy for patients with poorly differentiated gastric cancer", Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 40 (3): 233–8, doi:10.1007/s002800050652, PMID 9219507 

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