Chaga

(Inonotus obliquus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Chaga

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

 

Season

Year round

Habitat/Hosts

Paper birch and yellow birch

 

 

    Photo by Luciearl

Identification

This is an easily recognized and often sought after fungus. It is found year round almost exclusively on the trunk of living paper birch and yellow birch trees. It also occurs on alder, beech, oak, and poplar, but does not produce the characteristic large outgrowth on those species.

Fungal spores enter the living tree through wounds, especially branch stubs. The fungus is parasitic at this stage, obtaining its nutrients from the tree, and non-reproductive. It produces an irregular black mass (conk) that erupts through the bark and looks like charcoal. The conk is 4 to 16 long and wide and up to 2 thick. The surface is dry, hard, and broken into cubes. Over time it becomes sunken in the middle. The interior flesh, if exposed, is tough, woody, and bright orangish-brown.

Eventually, after 10 to 80 or more years, the infection will kill the tree. When that happens, the fungus produces a patch of whitish, fertile, fruiting bodies underneath the bark. At this stage the fungus us saprobic, obtaining its nutrients from decaying wood.

 
Similar
Species

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.


Comments

Medicinal Uses
Tea made from Chaga is purported to reduce inflammation, stimulate the immune system, protect the liver, and even to prevent and treat cancer. None of these effects have been confirmed in the laboratory. Like many alternative remedies, its effectiveness is probably directly proportional to the strength of user’s belief first that it will work and later that it has worked.


Taxonomy

Division:

Basidiomycota (club fungi)

 

Subdivision:

Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)

 

Class:

Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)

 

No Rank:

Agaricomycetes incertae sedis

 

Order:

Hymenochaetales

 

Family:

Hymenochaetaceae

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

Chaga

Chaga Mushroom


 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Conk

A shelf-like, bracket-shaped fruiting body of certain fungi.

 

Parasitic

Obtaining nutrients from another living organism.

 

Saprobic

Obtaining nutrients from non-living organic matter, such as decaying plant or animal matter.

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Luciearl


Chaga mushroom?

I've looked before, but this would be my first finding of Chaga.

  Chaga   Chaga
       
  Chaga    

       
       
       

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  Chaga   Chaga
       
       

 

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slideshow

     

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Other Videos

 
  Foraging for Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) - www.returntonature.us
ReturntoNatureSkills
 
   
 
About

Published on Feb 20, 2015

Heres a video on chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus) highlighting identification aspects, ethical harvesting considerations, and aspects of its ecological signature, as well as medicinal and survival aspects of this wonderful mushroom.

For more videos, articles, upcoming classes, and information visit www.returntonature.us and www.facebook.com/returntonatureskills

For studies and research on the medicinal properties of chaga:
As an antioxidant : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037887410400457X
Immunomodulating properties: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inonotus_obliquus#cite_note-research-immuno-7
Anticancer actions of Chaga: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/chaga-mushroom

 
     
  Inonotus obliquus (Chaga): a mushroom threatened by commercial overharvesting ?
Paul Stamets
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 30, 2011

Chaga (Inonotus oblquus) grows slowly on beech and birch trees over many years. Chaga is a non-sporulating (non-fertile) hardened structure with a dark, cracked over-crust. Some mycologists call Chaga an above-ground sclerotium. Chaga grows on living trees, taking many years for a soft-ball size structure to form. Once the tree dies, a resupinate crust forms on the ground near the tree. This is the spore-reproducing structure. What scientists do not know is whether or not the removal of Chaga will harm the formation of the spore producing crust. We do know that wild harvesting of Chaga is radically reducing this species populations. And since we can grow mycelium -sustainably- while retaining its beneficial properties, please refrain from harvesting wild chaga for commercial purposes. Thank you. Respectfully, Paul Stamets (www.fungi.com)

 
     
  Chaga Mushroom ( Inonotus obliquus) in Singhampton, Ontario 2015
FISHWILD
 
   
 
About

Published on Dec 23, 2015

Found a beautiful Chaga Mushroom on a White Birch. This is one of the most medicinal mushrooms out there. Use it to make tea.

 
     
  Chaga Mushroom - Inonotus obliquus
mlaskie
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 28, 2016

Description

 
     

 

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Luciearl
9/25/2018

Location: Cass County

I've looked before, but this would be my first finding of Chaga.

Chaga


     
     
 

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