7 Mushrooms That Grow On Alder Trees

Many different trees play host to the thousands of mushroom species in the world, and alder trees are no exception. Curious about some of the specific types of mushroom that grow on alder trees? Read on for a list of the most common varieties.

1. Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most well-known and popular mushroom varieties. They are often cultivated for their edible and medicinal value.

Shiitake mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with alder trees. The mushrooms absorb nitrogen from the air and convert into a usable form for the tree, and in return the tree acts as a host for the mushroom.

Though shiitake mushrooms often grow on alder trees in the wild, they can also be cultivated using alder logs, as shown below:

2. Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms are not one species but rather a family of mushrooms. There are over 200 different varieties of oyster mushrooms in the world.

These edible mushrooms can be found throughout much of the world and grow on many different deciduous trees, including alders. Other common host trees include aspens, maples, willows, and oaks.

Oyster mushrooms have a mild flavor that many people say tastes like seafood, but they are actually named for the oyster-like shape of their caps, not their flavor.

3. Chaga Mushrooms

Chaga mushrooms are known far and wide for their medicinal properties. Sometimes called “the king healer,” these mushrooms have been used since ancient times to prevent cancer, strengthen the immune system, protect the heart and other internal organs, treat tuberculosis, and help with digestive problems.

Chaga mushrooms most commonly grow on birch trees. Alders belong to the same family as birch trees, making them a good alternative host plant.

Chaga mushrooms are unique in that they are basically large balls of mycelium rather than the fruiting body of the mushroom. They have a brown to black, woody appearance.

4. Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Another medicinal mushroom, turkey tails are extremely widespread and grow in many different environments.

These mushrooms grow on dead and decaying wood. They are not too particular about the tree species they prefer, as they will grow on a variety of hardwoods.

Turkey tail mushrooms are so-named because of the fan-like shape of their caps, which have brown and gray bands and share a striking resemblance with the spread feathers of a turkey’s tail.

5. Artist’s Conks

Artist’s conk mushrooms are also known as artist’s brackets. They grow best in cool environments with high levels of humidity and rainfall.

Like turkey tails, these mushrooms seem to prefer dead and decaying wood. They will grow on the remnants of many different hardwood species, including alders.

Artist’s conks can literally be used for artwork; scratching away the gills on the underside of the cap reveals darker tissue underneath, allowing people to draw pictures and write messages in the mushroom’s flesh.  

6. Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane mushrooms are some of the most highly recognizable mushrooms in the world, and they have some pretty impressive medicinal qualities. They are said to improve nerve function and brain activity and increase memory.

These mushrooms grow on both living and dead hardwood trees, including alders. Those that grow on living trees gradually kill the tree by acting as a parasite and sapping it of vital nutrients.

Lion’s mane mushrooms are usually white or yellowish in color, and the fruiting bodies have a shaggy appearance much like a lion’s mane. They have a tasty crab-like flavor, making lion’s mane mushrooms a prized edible among mushroom foragers and enthusiasts.

7. Hoof Fungus Mushrooms

Hoof fungus mushrooms, also called iceman fungus and tinder conks, are most commonly found in woodlands and forests. Unlike the other mushrooms on this list, they are not edible.

These large fungi are usually found growing on the trunks of various hardwoods, including alders; some other trees that frequently play host include birch, oak, and beech trees. Over time, the fungus will cause stem rot, eventually killing the tree.

As you might guess, hoof fungus mushrooms have a similar appearance with horse’s hooves. They can grow quite large, up to 18 inches across and 10 inches thick. 


Alder trees are hardwoods that can host a variety of mushrooms. Some of the most common species include shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and horse fungus mushrooms.

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