Trametes versicolor

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"Turkey tail" redirects here. For the tail of a turkey, see Pygostyle.
Trametes versicolor
Trametes versicolor G4 (1).JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Polyporales
Family: Polyporaceae
Genus: Trametes
Species: 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: edible, but unpalatable

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 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.

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

When used in combination with certain chemotherapy regimens, PSK may benefit patients following surgical removal of stomach and colorectal cancers, but clinical trials in patients with breast cancer, leukemias, and liver cancer remain inconclusive as of 2016.[4]

PSK is possibly useful as an adjuvant in the treatment of gastric, esophageal, colorectal, breast and lung cancers.[5] PSK adjuvants are under study for their potential to affect cancer recurrence.[6]


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. doi:10.1016/0031-9422(75)85115-6. 
  3. ^ Endo, S (1981). "Lipids of five species of polyporacea". Tokyo Gakugei. 16. 
  4. ^ "Coriolus versicolor". Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY. 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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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