Curly griffin (Mushroom ram): useful properties, application, photo and video

Curly griffin (Mushroom ram): useful properties, application, photo and video

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Sheep mushroom is an unusual woody mushroom with a lot of valuable properties. It is not often possible to meet him in the forest, but a rare find can be of great benefit.

Description of the meitake mushroom

The ram mushroom is also known by the names Meitake, leafy tinder fungus, curly griffin, leaf tinder fungus and dancing mushroom. It is quite easy to recognize him when you meet him - the fruit body of the meitake looks extremely original.

A video of a ram mushroom shows that this mushroom species looks like a kind of bush, consisting of numerous small mushrooms with small caps. The legs of these mushrooms are long and well-defined, light in shade, and the caps are similar to woody leaves or tongues, they are dark in color at the edges and lighter in the central part.

In general, the color of the unusual ram mushroom ranges from greenish-gray to gray-pink. The lower surface of small caps is tubular, with small pores; the hymenophore descends on the legs. If you break the meitake, then inside it will turn out to be white and fragile, with a pleasant aroma of pulp, many people catch a nutty hue in the smell.

The griffin can grow very large and take up the entire basket when harvested

Important! Adult representatives of this type of mushroom can reach really large sizes, some specimens weigh from 10 to 20 kg.

Where does the ram mushroom grow

The ram mushroom grows in Russia mainly in the Far East, in the Volga region and in the Urals. Meitake prefers broad-leaved forests, chooses mainly maples and oaks for its growth, it can also be found on beech and chestnut trunks. A ram mushroom is found in the Kaliningrad region, and all over the world you can also find it in North America, mainly in the eastern part, in Australia, in the temperate climate of Asia and Europe. Mass fruiting occurs at the end of August and lasts until mid-autumn.

The ram mushroom is considered quite rare, in Russia it is listed in the Red Book. Collecting it is most often prohibited, since the species belongs to the category of endangered species.

You can find curly griffin under the roots of oak trees

How does a ram mushroom grow

Curly griffin belongs to the arboreal category and grows mainly on stumps. Basically, the ram mushroom is located in the lower part of oaks and maples, sometimes it chooses the trunks of beeches, chestnuts and lindens, it is very rare to find it on pines. You can also see fruit bodies on living trees, but this happens less often, usually Meitake still settles on dead wood.

Despite its numerous valuable features, curly griffin, or mushroom ram, is a pest for trees. It causes white rot, so a tree affected by a griffin dies quickly.

In one maitak, you can count about 200 small hats.

What does a ram mushroom look like?

It is very simple to recognize meitake - a bushy structure is characteristic of griffins, vaguely reminiscent of a ram's wool. From a photo of a lamb's head mushroom, one can be sure that, on average, one griffin contains from 80 to 100 small mushrooms, sometimes the fruiting body is formed by 150-200 caps. Meitake is characterized by rapid growth; it can reach a mass of about 10 kg in just a few days.

The weight of an individual fruiting body may exceed 10 kg

Varieties of ram mushroom

Under the name of a ram mushroom, you can find 2 more varieties of mushrooms in amateur sources and on forums. In fact, they belong to other mushroom families, but they have a strong similarity to meitake, therefore they are often considered species of ram mushroom.

Umbrella griffin

The related griffins, umbellate and curly, are very similar in appearance, usually settle in the same places and bear fruit at the same time. The umbrella griffin is also suitable for human consumption and is even considered a delicacy.

The main difference lies in the shape of the fruiting body - in the umbrella griffin, the cap has a fan shape, in addition, the fruit body has lateral legs. You can distinguish a mushroom by its pleasant dill smell.

Curly sparassis

Another type of ram mushroom is the so-called mushroom cabbage, or curly sparassis. The species has a certain resemblance to the griffin, since the body of the sparassis also consists of dozens of small mushrooms. But at the same time, the color of curly sparassis is yellowish-beige, the cap petals are thin and delicate, and the shape of the fruit body is spherical, which gives it a resemblance to a cabbage head. In addition, sparassis grows mainly not in deciduous, but in coniferous forests under the roots of pines.

The mushroom curly sparassis belongs to the edible category, young fruiting bodies can be eaten.

Edible or not curly griffin

Tinder mushroom ram is considered edible and highly prized for its unusual but pleasant nutty flavor. Meitake is used in food boiled, fried, dried or pickled, served both as an independent dish and as a nutritious side dish. Dried mushroom powder is often used as a spice herb.

Attention! Mainly young curly griffins are suitable for food consumption. They become less palatable as they get older.

The benefits and harms of ram mushroom

The specific nutty flavor and aroma are far from the only features of curly griffins. The ram mushroom has numerous beneficial properties and is able to have a beneficial effect on human health.

As part of the pulp, griffins are present:

  • subgroup B vitamins - from B1 to B9;
  • vitamins E and D;
  • magnesium and potassium;
  • phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper;
  • calcium and sodium;
  • selenium;
  • valuable amino acids - leucine, arginine, valine, tryptophan and many others;
  • aspartic and glutamic acids;
  • antibiotic compounds;
  • phytoncides and saponins;
  • flavonoids and triterpenes;
  • steroids and polysaccharides.

Curly griffin is not only tasty, but also very useful

Due to this composition, curly griffin has a wide range of useful properties. When used, it:

  • cleanses the body and restores metabolic processes;
  • strengthens blood vessels and reduces capillary fragility;
  • disinfects and helps fight viruses and infections;
  • thins the blood and has a positive effect on the quality of red blood cells;
  • reduces the level of bad cholesterol and prevents the development of atherosclerosis;
  • removes toxins and toxins;
  • strengthens the body's immune defenses.

The beneficial properties and contraindications of the meitake mushroom are always associated with each other. When using the fruiting body, it must be remembered that meitake can bring not only benefits, but also harm:

  1. The mushroom pulp contains a high amount of chitin. The substance is not digested in the body, and therefore, if you overeat, curly griffin can lead to constipation and abdominal pain.
  2. The use of griffin is not recommended for pregnant women and young children under 12 years of age. The product is considered too heavy for sensitive digestion.
  3. It is better to refuse a ram mushroom with a sluggish stomach and a general tendency to constipation.
  4. You should not eat mushroom pulp if you are intolerant to mushrooms - this can cause an allergic reaction.

Medicines are prepared on the basis of curly griffins

Also, curly griffin can be harmful if collected in an ecologically unfavorable area. Like any mushroom, meitake quickly absorbs harmful substances from the environment. Fruit bodies growing near busy highways or near industrial facilities should not be used for food, they will not bring health benefits.

The medicinal properties of the ram mushroom

Curled griffin, with its varied and useful chemical composition, is often used in folk medicine. In particular, the ram mushroom is used:

  • to support the health of the heart and blood vessels and strengthen the immune system;
  • for the treatment of headaches and joint pain;
  • with overwork and chronic fatigue;
  • with anemia and deficiency of nutrients in the body;
  • for the removal of slags and as an anthelmintic natural remedy;
  • to regulate hormonal levels and maintain normal body weight;
  • for the treatment of tuberculosis, bronchitis and other ailments of the respiratory system;
  • for the treatment of digestive and gastric ailments;
  • to normalize blood pressure.

It is especially worth noting the benefits of the meitake mushroom for women, it improves well-being during menopause, and with painful periods it helps to relieve spasms and discomfort. Since the mushroom pulp contains estrogen-like substances, curly griffin has a pronounced positive effect on the reproductive system and prevents the development of cancer of the uterus, ovaries and mammary glands. It is useful to use the ram mushroom and men, it reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Meitake has proven anti-cancer properties

Advice! Meitake is often used as a complementary treatment for oncology. Sheep mushroom inhibits the growth of malignant tumors and reduces the side effects of chemotherapy, but it should only be used in combination with traditional treatments.

The use of the meitake mushroom in folk medicine is practiced in several forms. From fresh or dried pulp, infusions, powders and extracts are prepared, which are beneficial for internal and external use.


Dried meitake is ground to a uniform powder and stored in paper bags or wooden containers. The powder can be used both internally and externally, it is previously diluted with water. The remedy helps with inflammatory processes and promotes the healing of skin lesions.


To prepare a useful tincture, 3 large tablespoons of chopped dry griffins are poured with 500 ml of vodka and insisted for 2 weeks in a dark place. They use the finished product together with the sediment, without straining, and you need to drink the tincture 1 small spoon three times a day on an empty stomach.

The product helps to boost immunity and promote weight loss. The duration of the course of taking the tincture is no more than 3 months in a row.

In folk medicine, curly griffin is insisted and crushed into powder

Oil extract

Meitake-based oil is of great benefit for obesity, oncology and other ailments. Pour about 3 large tablespoons of dried meitake with 500 ml of olive oil. The container is closed and for 2 weeks it is removed to infuse in a dark place, and then 2 small spoons are taken on an empty stomach.

Since the oil has a high fat content, it should be consumed no more than three times a day, and no more than 90 days in a row.

Water infusion

Infusion of griffins on water is of great benefit for colds and inflammatory processes. A small spoonful of crushed dry pulp is poured with 250 ml of water and insisted for 8 hours under a lid.

You need to use the infusion three times a day, without straining. Before use, the infusion is shaken so that a useful sediment rises from the bottom. They usually drink homemade medicine for 3 months, but if you want to use the meitake infusion, you can take longer, it has no strict contraindications.

Meitake can be used to treat colds.

How to distinguish false sheep mushrooms

In addition to curly sparassis and umbrella griffins, which in many sources are considered varieties of ram mushroom, meitake has false counterparts. Some woody mushrooms resemble curly griffins in their structure and shape, but they do not have such good taste and benefits.

Meripilus giant

The most famous false counterpart of meitake is the giant meripilus. It also grows at the roots of deciduous trees, selects mainly oaks and beeches, has a large fruiting body, consisting of numerous accrete caps. It is suitable for human consumption, but less tasty and healthy than meitake.

Meitake can be distinguished by the shape of the hats and the presence of long thin legs.

Unlike the ram's mushroom, the merypilus does not have a pronounced leg - the caps that make up the fruiting body grow from a shapeless base. In addition, individual caps have a semicircular shape and are much larger in size than curly griffin caps.

The main differences between the ram mushroom and false counterparts are precisely the long thin legs on which individual caps rise, as well as the small size of the caps themselves. Curly griffin can also be recognized by its characteristic nutty aroma.

Growing ram mushrooms

A healthy and tasty griffin is a rare mushroom, for example, a ram mushroom in the Moscow region is very rare, and besides, in most regions it is listed in the Red Book. Therefore, it is much easier and more practical to grow it in your country house than to look for in wildlife.

There are 2 ways to grow the Red Book ram mushroom at home - on a special substrate and on damp wood.

Growing curly griffins on a substrate

To grow a dancing maitake mushroom in your area, you will need to acquire a substrate consisting of hardwood sawdust and this type of mycelium, which can be ordered at a specialized store. The growing algorithm looks like this:

  • the substrate is poured over with boiling water to destroy possible harmful microorganisms, and wait until it cools down a little;
  • after that, the acquired mycelium is mixed with sawdust and the mixture is placed in small plastic bags;
  • the bags are tightly tied and several holes are made in them for air access;
  • the substrate and mycelium are placed in a closed room with a temperature of about 25 ° C, moderate lighting and good ventilation.

The first sprouts, subject to the conditions for growing a ram mushroom, will appear in 3-4 weeks. Every few days, the substrate will need to be moistened so that it does not dry out. It will be possible to harvest curly griffins in 3-4 months, and in total, the mushroom mycelium will be able to bear fruit for up to 6 years in a row.

Meitake can be grown at home in a plastic bag

Growing on a deciduous log

The second method of growing meitake suggests using wood, this allows you to create the most natural conditions for the mushroom mycelium. You need to act according to the following algorithm:

  • a small deciduous log, clean and not rotten, soaked for a couple of days;
  • then for another 2 days the wood is dried in the fresh air and holes are made in the log about 5-7 cm in depth and up to 1 cm in diameter;
  • the purchased mycelium is carefully placed in the prepared holes and closed on top with a ball rolled from sawdust;
  • the log is covered with a plastic bag to create greenhouse conditions and put into a shed or basement with constant lighting and a temperature of about 20-25 ° C.

From time to time, the log should be watered with water so that the wood does not dry out. After about 3 months, curly griffin will be able to give its first harvest.

Important! Several fruit bodies can be grown on one log. The holes for laying the mycelium are usually staggered at a distance of at least 10 cm, otherwise the growing fruit bodies will interfere with each other.

At the dacha, Meitake is often grown directly on a log.


The ram mushroom, or curly griffin, is a rare delicious mushroom listed in the Red Book. It is difficult to find it in nature, but curly griffin can be grown on your own site and used both in cooking and for medicinal purposes.

Reviews of the meitake mushroom

Petrova Elena Igorevna, 45 years old, Moscow

I first heard about the curly griffin 3 years ago and really wanted to try this mushroom. In the Moscow region, it does not grow, and it is forbidden to collect the Red Book meitake, so I bought a mycelium and planted it in a substrate in the country. After 5 months, we managed to get the first harvest - the meitake turned out to be just as tasty as I expected.

Stepanov Andrey Danilovich, 50 years old, Ryazan

I love to grow rare mushrooms on my site, the ram started growing mushroom 5 years ago. It is very easy to get a good harvest if you follow the basic conditions - meitake grows quickly and reaches large sizes. The mushroom is very tasty, and it can also be used for treatment - it is very useful for immunity.

Valentinova Anna Andreevna, 48 years old, Vladivostok

The ram mushroom grows in the wild in our area, and a couple of times I managed to find it in the forest. But you can't collect it, the meitake is listed in the Red Book. Therefore, six months ago, I ordered curly griffin mycelium over the Internet and planted the spores in a beech log at my dacha. A month ago, I received the first harvest - the mushroom pleased with its unusual nutty taste and pleasant aroma.

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