Turkey Tail is one of the most common mushrooms in the North American woods, so chances are you’ve run into it once or twice, or hundreds of times. It is a “polypore” type of fungus, which means it forms large fruiting bodies with pores/tubes on the underside (i.e. little holes), instead of gills. The kind of white button or portobello mushroom that you might buy at the grocery has gills on the underside.
Turkey Tails can have a lot of different colors in them, but they tend to stay in the buff, tan, brown, cinnamon, and reddish-brown range. You’ll find stripes of the different contrasting color zones in concentric rings. Also the surface of the cap is finely fuzzy or velvety.
Habitat: On dead limbs, stumps and logs of predominantly hardwoods. Fruit: Late spring - fall.
There are a lot of look-alikes to a true Turkey Tail, and some of my photos below may be incorrect. (If so, please comment below! I’m always looking for help with proper identification on this site). I found the “Totally True Turkey Tail Test” particularly helpful for identification (as well as for a little fungi humor chuckle).