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A large mushroom, brain-like in appearance, grows at the base of an oak tree in northwest Minnesota. Checking in with Bemidji mushroom expert Matt Breuer revealed the mushroom was a “Hen of the Woods,” an edible species that is much tastier than it looks. FORUM NEWS SERVICE/Brad Dokken

Brain matter or delicious mushroom?

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It was growing at the base of an oak tree, a large fungus that bore more than a passing resemblance to a brain.

How long the mushroom had been there I’m not sure, but it caught my attention last Sunday afternoon.

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My knowledge of edible fungi is limited to morels, so I wasn’t particularly tempted to pick the giant mushroom until I had a better idea what it was. It didn’t look particularly appetizing.

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Brad Dokken
Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 
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