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Tastes like Watermelon?

Dryad’s Sadle (Polyporus squamosus)

I did not move to Ohio for the weather… So, with big dreams of finding the “Spendy” and well sought after Morchellas more widely known as Morel Mushrooms, in our local forests this past weekend, my husband and I went “Shrooming.” Under an azure sunny sky, we tromped through miles of damp and marshy woods avoiding poison ivy, and walking through spider webs all while dreaming of toasting our foraged finds with a rich full bodied red wine and a dinner of Morel Madeira Crostini under the stars later that night. When it comes to wine accessories, the wine opener is just the tip of the iceberg. Ummm… ROOKIES!!

By mid afternoon, we were VERY FRUSTRATED and beginning to wonder if we had a better chance of stumbling across the Grimm Brothers’ Hansel and Gretel far before we even came close to finding a single earthy and delicious tasting morel. Knee deep in briers, feet sunk stubbornly into the mud, and in the middle of absolutely nowhere, my nerdy, but cute husband surfed the internet on his Blackberry. As he was reading posts on the Ohio Morels & Mushrooms Message Board where other foragers were already reporting finds in the hundreds just a few miles away and scanning Google Earth attempting to find a better location, I was off exploring a very funky mushroom growing out of a dead tree close by.

Dryad’s Sadle (Polyporus squamosus)

Flipping through the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms section on Polypores and other shelflike mushrooms, I identified my truly bizarre looking find as being a Polyporus Squamosus also known as Dryad’s Saddle.

Intrigued by the little I know of the Dryads in Greek Mythology, I continued to read on. According to the guide, the Polyporus Squamosu is a “Large, fleshy, tough, scaly, yellowish-brown cap with large, white to yellowish pores and a descending short stalk. Cap 2 3/8-12″ (6-30 cm) wide… Flesh 0.5-3.5 cm thick; white. Odor and taste like watermelon rind.” TASTES LIKE WATERMELON RIND?!!

Ok, I can not even begin to imagine what that experience was like for the mycologist who discovered it, because nothing about this freaky looking thing said, “Tear me off the tree, take me home in your pretty little basket, and serve me to your family disguised as Pickled Watermelon Rind.” ICK!!


So yes, to be candidly honest, I am not a mycologist and you could not pay enough money to get me to salivate over the thought of chewing a rubbery hunk of watermelon flavored fungi. But, I did find it fascinating to photograph and I happily took a ton of pictures.


Just Say No

Just Say No


We never did find any morels this past weekend, but there were other edibles out in the forest. We picked wild onions for Potato Pancakes and some dandelions to make Dandelion Jelly. But, we left the Watemelon flavored and scented Polyporus Squamosus in the depths of the Mohican State Park for someone either braver then us or for Bourdain to discover.
Wild Edibles


Day Trips ,

  1. May 1st, 2007 at 21:41 | #1

    Nothing beats walking in the woods with a basket even if you didn’t get what you came for. Good luck next time.

  2. May 3rd, 2007 at 11:01 | #2

    Yes, and it is addicting! I am already looking forward to heading out with my little basket again this weekend.

  3. May 5th, 2007 at 20:26 | #3

    Oh, I love your humor here (and I agree… that mushroom looks rather like an oversized escargot).

    Dandelion jelly. That is so fascinating. I’ve been eating them plain (they’re a little fuzzy at the bottom though, so I look a bit like a yellow-tobacco chewer/spitter when I’m out there.)

    I hear that many mushrooms are so poisonous that it’s not so advisable to forage for them without a great deal of expertise. What do you think?

  4. Walden
    May 7th, 2007 at 12:05 | #4

    Morels are easy in Maryland…but finding Dryad’s Saddle?!

    I might see one every few years. Great Find!

  5. May 14th, 2007 at 00:43 | #5

    L.L. Barkat, Good Point! Many mushrooms are not only poisonous, some can be downright deadly. So, yes… it is very important to be very knowledgeable before foraging for mushrooms.

    My husband has been studying Mycology and growing mushrooms as a hobby for years, but even we would never consider eating all of our finds. However, sometimes it is just fun to get out in the woods with a camera and a field guide. Simply learn them as you go and leave the questionable ones behind for others to discover.

    Walden, We never did find any morels this year, but finding the Dryad’s Saddle was pretty exciting and it seems even cooler now I know how rare it is. Thanks for commenting!

  6. rick
    May 12th, 2008 at 17:05 | #6

    are they safe to eat

  7. Greg
    May 7th, 2009 at 13:07 | #7

    I have to say, those young dryad’s saddle look really perfect. I find them often when searching for morels. I only take those that are very young because they get very tough when they are older. But, when they are young and tender, they are very good. The don’t have much flavor on their own and are best in some kind of marinade and then baked. They’re also tasty battered and fried. Next time you find some I highly suggest you give them a try. They’re a great find when you don’t have enough luck to find morels.

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