Dryad’s Saddle (Pheasant Backs) – Harvesting, Lookalikes & Grow

Dryad’s saddle, also known as Polyporus squamosus, is a type of edible mushroom that can be found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Its shape and texture, which resemble a saddle, gave rise to its name. The fungus has a distinctive pattern of brownish-gray scales on its cap, which can grow up to 60 cm wide.

It’s important to note that while dryad’s saddle is edible, there are several mushrooms that resemble it and are toxic, so it’s essential to be able to correctly identify it. Some of the lookalikes include the toxic green-spored lepiotoid and the poisonous sulfur tuft.

Foragers can find dryad’s saddle growing on deciduous trees, particularly dead or dying ones. It’s best to harvest the mushroom when it’s young, as the texture becomes tough and woody as it matures. Dryad’s saddle is a well-liked addition to soups, stews, and stir-fries due to its mild, nutty flavor.

Dryad’s Saddle

Use a sharp knife to properly cut the mushroom off the tree when collecting dryad’s saddle. This helps prevent damage to the tree and ensures that the fungus will continue to grow in future years.

All About Dryad’s Saddle

Dryad’s Saddle, also known as Pheasant’s Back Mushroom or Polyporus squamosus, is a common and widespread species of bracket fungus. Here are some key points about Dryad’s Saddle:


The mushroom has a distinctive shape and texture, with a brownish-gray, fan-shaped cap that can grow up to 30cm in diameter, and a scaly surface resembling the plumage of a pheasant.


Dryad’s Saddle is commonly found growing on dead or dying trees, particularly elm and oak, but can also appear on living trees or stumps.


It is found throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.


The mushroom is edible when young and tender, but can become tough and bitter as it ages. It’s frequently compared to the flavor and feel of leather.

Nutritional Value

Dryad’s Saddle is a good source of protein, fiber, and minerals, including potassium, copper, and selenium.


Because of its adaptability, the mushroom can be prepared in a number of ways, including as sautéing, grilling, and roasting. It frequently appears in pasta recipes, stews, and soups.

Medicinal Properties

Dryad’s Saddle has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including respiratory problems and skin conditions.


Some people may be allergic to Dryad’s Saddle, and it can also contain harmful compounds that can cause stomach upset or liver damage if consumed in large quantities.


Dryad’s Saddle can be identified by its distinctive shape, scaly surface, and attachment to trees. However, it is important to consult a field guide or experienced forager before consuming any wild mushroom.

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Where Does Dryad’s Saddle Grow?

Dryad’s Saddle (Cerioporus squamosus) is a type of edible mushroom that can be found growing on the dead or living trees of various hardwood species. It is commonly found in North America, Europe, and Asia, and can often be seen growing in clusters on the lower part of tree trunks or on fallen logs. Depending on the climate and location, it normally appears in the late spring to early summer and can continue to grow all year.

How To Find Dryad’s Saddle (Pheasant Backs)

The popular edible wild mushroom known as “dryad’s saddle” or “pheasant’s back mushroom” grows on dead and dying trees, especially oaks. If you’re looking to find Dryad’s saddle, here are some tips:

Look for dead or dying oak trees

Dryad’s saddle typically grows on the sides of oak trees, often near the base or where branches have fallen off. Look for trees with rough, scaly bark that are showing signs of decay.

Check in the spring or fall

Dryad’s saddle mushrooms typically fruit in the spring and fall, so these are the best times to look for them.

Look for a distinctive shape and pattern

Dryad’s saddle mushrooms have a large, fan-like shape with a distinctive “saddle” in the middle. The cap is brownish-gray with a scaly texture, while the underside has pores instead of gills.

Look in the right environment

Dryad’s saddle mushrooms prefer a damp, shady environment, so look in wooded areas or near streams.

Be careful when harvesting

Make sure you’re confident in your identification of Dryad’s saddle before harvesting. The mushroom can be confused with some poisonous mushrooms, so it’s best to consult a guidebook or expert.

By following these tips, you should be able to locate Dryad’s saddle and enjoy its delicious flavor in your next meal!

Dryad’s Saddle Lookalikes

Dryad’s saddle (Cerioporus squamosus) is a distinctive polypore mushroom, but it can be mistaken for a few other species. Here are some of its lookalikes:

False turkey tail (Stereum ostrea)

This mushroom has a similar shape and texture to dryad’s saddle but lacks the distinctive scales on the cap.

Artist’s conk (Ganoderma applanatum)

This species has a similar size and shape to dryad’s saddle but has a smooth, white pore surface instead of the brownish-yellow pores of dryad’s saddle.

Hairy bracket (Trametes hirsuta)

This mushroom has a similar shape to dryad’s saddle and is also found on deciduous trees, but its pores are much smaller and it has a velvety texture.

Berkeley’s polypore (Bondarzewia berkeleyi)

This mushroom has a similar shape and size to dryad’s saddle but has a smooth, white pore surface and a darker, more reddish-brown cap.

How To Harvest Dryad’s Saddle

The common and tasty Dryad’s saddle mushroom, commonly referred to as Pheasant’s Back, grows on rotting wood. The steps to harvest it are as follows:

  1. Find a mature Dryad’s saddle that is in good condition.
  2.  Cut the mushroom off at the base of the stem using a sharp knife.
  3. Use a brush or paper towel to clean the mushroom, removing any dirt or debris.
  4. Slice the mushroom into thin pieces or chunks.
  5. Cook the mushroom thoroughly before consuming, as it can cause digestive issues if eaten raw.
How To Harvest Dryad’s Saddle

Remember to always double-check the identification of any mushroom you plan to harvest, as some mushrooms can be toxic and even deadly if ingested.

How To Prepare Dryad’s Saddle

Dryad’s saddle, also known as Pheasant’s back mushroom, is a type of edible wild mushroom found in North America and Europe. The stages of preparing Dryad’s saddle are as follows:

  1. To remove any dirt or debris, scrub the mushrooms well with a brush or a moist cloth.
  2. Cut the mushrooms into thin slices or small pieces, discarding any tough or woody parts.
  3. Sliced mushrooms are added to a skillet that has been heated with butter or oil over medium heat. The mushrooms are cooked for 5 to 10 minutes, until they are soft and gently browned.
  4. After cooking for a further minute or two, season to taste with some garlic, herbs, or other ingredients.
  5. Serve the cooked mushrooms as a side dish or use them as a topping for pizza, pasta, or other dishes.

It is important to properly identify and forage for Dryad’s saddle mushrooms, as they can be confused with other poisonous or inedible mushrooms. It is recommended to consult an experienced forager or mycologist before consuming wild mushrooms.

Dryad’s Saddle Recipe

History of Dryad’s Saddle (Pheasant Backs)

Dryad’s saddle, also known as Pheasant’s back mushroom, is a species of bracket fungus found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Its scientific name is Cerioporus squamosus, and it grows on dead or decaying trees, especially oaks. The mushroom stands out thanks to its fan-shaped, scalloped top that mimics a pheasant’s tail feathers. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine and has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Dryad’s saddle is also considered edible, but its tough texture can make it less desirable for consumption.

Dryad’s Saddle Quick ID Guide

  1. Look for a large, fan-shaped or circular fruiting body with a smooth, velvety surface.
  2. Check for a distinct stem that is off-center or lateral, often curving downwards.
  3. Examine the underside of the cap for pores instead of gills, which are cream to yellowish in color.
  4. Note the strong, musty odor when handling or cutting the mushroom.
  5. Confirm that the mushroom is growing on a living or dead hardwood tree, particularly oak or elm.
  6. Be cautious when harvesting, as older specimens may be tough and unpalatable.

Dryad Saddle Common Questions

A Dryad Saddle is a type of mushroom that is commonly found in wooded areas around the world. Its scientific name is Cerioporus squamosus.

The Dryad Saddle has a unique shape and appearance, with a broad, fleshy, tan-colored cap that has a scaly or leathery texture. The diameter of the cap can vary from a few inches to more than a foot.

Yes, the Dryad Saddle is edible, but it is important to properly prepare it before consuming. It is recommended to slice the mushroom thinly and cook it thoroughly.

The taste of a Dryad Saddle is mild and slightly nutty, with a chewy texture. Some individuals state that it tastes like chicken.

While the Dryad Saddle does contain some medicinal properties, it is not commonly used for medicinal purposes.

Dryad Saddle mushrooms can be found in wooded areas around the world, particularly in North America, Europe, and Asia. They can grow on living or dead trees, and are often found on oak, elm, and beech trees.

The Dryad Saddle mushroom is easily recognizable by its unique shape and appearance, with a broad, fleshy, tan-colored cap that has a scaly or leathery texture. Its underside is covered in small, cream-colored pores.

There are some mushrooms that resemble the Dryad Saddle, such as the toxic Inedible Bitter Boletes and the poisonous Berkeley’s Polypore. Prior to consumption, it’s crucial to be able to recognize the Dryad Saddle correctly.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, the Dryad’s Saddle mushroom is a fascinating and edible species found in North America and Europe. Its distinctive shape and size make it easy to identify, and it can be harvested and prepared for a delicious meal. However, caution must be exercised when consuming wild mushrooms, and it is always advisable to consult an expert or guidebook before foraging.

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