Every Monday I attend my three-hour population studies class expecting to be lectured for the whole duration. On the first of October, professor Pochron decided to mix things up a bit when she suddenly exclaimed “who wants to have class outdoors?” It seemed like a good way to kill class time, so the students in my class motioned for it. After the long, grueling walk from our classroom to the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve, the professor let us run free into the forest like a bunch of birds leaving their mother’s nest for the first time. Our task was to take pictures of anything our heart desired and upload it through an app called iNaturalist to identify the species of any organism in its database.
While everyone was staying close to the walking path to take pictures of mushrooms and small leaves to avoid contact with poison ivy, I noticed what seemed to be a couple of pancakes stacked up on a fallen tree trunk. This sighting definitely piqued my interest as I hadn’t eaten yet and I immediately rushed toward the wild tree-pancake. After taking the picture, iNaturalist identified the weird specimen as the Laetiporus Sulphureus, commonly known as “the chicken of the woods.” After seeing the weird nickname, I had to find out why it was so peculiar, so I did some research and found out that this organism was not listed on ICUN’s red list of endangered species and received its name because individuals claimed the fungus simply tasted like chicken. Such a finding proves that scientists can have a sense of humor too!