Citizen Science: Growing Comb Tooth and Turkey Tail on Birch

This citizen science study will help answer the question "Can Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) and Comb Tooth (Hericium americanum) mushrooms be cultivated on White Birch (Betula papyrifera) and Black Birch (Betula lenta) logs?"

Comb Tooth mushrooms growing on birch
fronds turkey tail mushrooms growing on the end of a birch log
a hand holding a cluster of comb tooth mushrooms with birch logs in the background

Project Background

We currently have limited data on which tree species make suitable hosts for Turkey Tail and Comb Tooth mushroom species. We do know that Turkey Tail can be hosted by hard Sugar Maple and Oak trees. Comb Tooth can be hosted by American Beech, Blue Beech, Hornbeam, Hackberry, Mulberry, hard and soft Maple, Oak, and Sweet Gum. Turkey Tail can be planted in the springtime in the northern portion of the United States and throughout all seasons except summer in the southern portion, with a preference for fruiting within the temperature range of 50-90°F. Comb Tooth can be planted in all seasons except for summer in the northern and southern climates and prefers a fruiting temperature range of 55-70°F.

Project Description

Occupying agricultural zone 5b, James Dochtermann, tested twelve logs in total, White & Black Birch, to explore if Comb Tooth and Turkey Tail could be successfully cultivated. The logs sized, 36" in length x 4-6" in diameter, were cut in mid-April and inoculated on May 10, 2022, using the drill-and-fill method with Comb Tooth and Turkey Tail plug spawn. The logs were then stored on boards in a shady spot with little wind exposure and access to natural rainfall.


In Progress - Still gathering data


September 21st, 2022 both species started to fruit.


Zone Location:
Zone 5b
Project Start Date:
May 10th, 2022
Project Status:
James Dochtermann