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Trametes versicolor — formerly known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor — is an extremely common polypore mushroom which can be found throughout the world. Versicolor means 'of several colours' and it is true that this mushroom is found in a wide variety of different colours. T. versicolor is commonly called Turkey Tail in the United States because of its resemblance to the tail of the wild turkey. T. versicolor is recognized as a medicinal mushroom in Chinese medicine under the name yun zhi (simplified Chinese: 云芝, traditional Chinese: 雲芝). In Chinamarker and Japanmarker T. versicolor is used as in immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer.


The top surface of the cap shows typical concentric zones of different colours. Flesh 1-3 mm thick, leathery texture. Cap with rust-brown or darker brown, sometimes blackish zones, Older specimens, such as the one pictured at right, can have zones green algae growing on them, thus appearing green. Commonly grows in tiled layers. Cap flat, up to 8 x 5 x 0,5-1 centimeters, often triangular or round, with zones of fine hairs. Pore surface whitish to light brown, pores round and with age twisted and labyrinthine. 2-5 pores per millimeter

The turkey tail has bioremediation potential, according to mycologist Paul Stamets. T. versicolor biodegrades a variety of pollutants*.

Medicinal value

Polysaccharide-K (Krestin, PSK), is a protein-bound polysaccharide isolated from Trametes versicolor, which is used as an immune system boosting agent in the treatment of cancer in some European countries as well as China and Japan. In Japanmarker, PSK is approved as an adjuvant for cancer therapy and is covered by government health insurance.

PSK has documented anticancer activity in vitro, in vivo and in human clinical trials. Research has also demonstrated that the PSK can reduce mutagen-induced, radiation-induced, and spontaneously-induced cancer development.[271105] PSK has shown to be beneficial as an adjuvant in the treatment of gastric, esophageal, colorectal, breast and lung cancers. Human clinical trials suggest PSK can reduce cancer recurrence when used as an adjuvant and research has demonstrated the mushroom can inhibit certain human cancer cell lines in vitro.

The United State's top ranked cancer hospital, the MD Andersonmarker has reported that it is a "promising candidate for chemoprevention due to the multiple effects on the malignant process, limited side effects and safety of daily oral doses for extended periods of time."


Image:Trametes versicolor.JPG|Image:Trametes_versicolor_2.jpg|Two varieties of T. versicolor on the same tree stump.Image:Trametes_versicolor_3.jpg|Close-up showing underside and pores of an older specimen of T. versicolor.Image:Schmetterlingstramete Trametes versicolor 004.jpg|Close photo of T. versicolor.Image:Many-colored Polypore.jpgImage:Trametes.versicolor4.-.lindsey.jpgImage:TrametesversicolorJI2.jpgImage:Schmetterlingstramete Trametes versicolor 001.jpgImage:Trametes.versicolor.-.lindsey.jpgImage:Schmetterlingstramete Trametes versicolor 003.jpg

See also


  • "Danske storsvampe. Basidiesvampe" [a key to Danish basidiomycetes] J.H. Petersen and J. Vesterholt eds. Gyldendal. Viborg, Denmark, 1990. ISBN 87-01-09932-9
  • "Mycoremediation, fungal bioremediation" [a encyclopedia of fungal bioremediation] Harbhajan Sing. Wiley, 2006. ISBN 978-0-471-75501-2
  • Entry of Trametes versicolor at Fungal Databases, Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory Nomenclature Database, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

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