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Old Nov 25, 2012, 5:42 am   #1
Agnosopher
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Name: Shawn
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Question Where is the Chaga?

I know chaga's in michigan are found mostly in nothern michigan but I want to find some without traveling too far. I live in Westland about 15 minutes west of detroit. So I want to know how far north I would have to go to have a good chance in finding some chaga's. More specifically which city/area closest to me would I almost be guaranteed to find a chaga?
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 3:27 am   #2
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Re: Where is the Chaga?

Hi and welcome to our forums Shawn.

There are no guarantees in wild mushroom hunting!

I don't hunt Chaga myself. so I can't give 1st hand info. But I understand the best chaga comes from white or yellow birch.
So ROAD TRIPS!

You have to go where the birch are. And you want to see a LOT of Birch. It will involve a lot of walking as they don't grow everywhere in a stand of birch, and may not even be one in a stand. If it was easy.. well...

Chaga takes years to grow, so don't expect people to give out their spots. They protect that info. But they usually are willing to give you tips on how to find them.

And I am sure some of our members who do hunt them, will share that info you.

Good luck Shawn. I wish you success, and again, welcome!
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 7:31 pm   #3
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Re: Where is the Chaga?

Paper Birch trees do occur in the thumb region.
Yellow Birch occurs sparingly in Southern MI, as does Gray Birch.
European White Birch is naturalized in Southern Michigan, and Paper and Yellow Birch trees are generally common in Michigan north of Holland-Grand Rapids-Flint-Port Huron, though the range of Yellow Birch extends pretty much to the southern border of Michigan with IN and OH. Yellow Birches occur, for example, in Yankee Springs, while Paper Birch does not. Patches of Gray Birch occur near New Buffalo and South Haven, (recognized by clumps of spindly white trunks.)

As for "Chaga", I couldn't find it in any of my mushroom guides, so I looked online. The scientific name is Inonotus obliquus, which is listed as "Clinker Polypore" in the Audubon guide....found on birch, reported on alder (birch family) and elm.
It is found throughout North America and can be found year-round. It is also called Birch Canker Polypore and Poria obliqua....no edibility info is listed.
Hope this helps.
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Last edited by Jochs; Nov 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm. Reason: more info.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 3:35 pm   #4
Agnosopher
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Re: Where is the Chaga?

Thanks for the reply's guys!

Well I know what I'm doing this weekend, hunting down some chaga. I don't want anyone worried about me taking their hunting spots for chaga or any other mushroom. In fact I would like to plant spores during my hunts as long as it doesn't have a negative impact on the trees or environment . That way I can have my own supply of them.

Thanks Jochs for the area's where certain birches grow. This will give me a great starting point of where to hunt chaga's. As for their edibility I've read they taste like a mild vanilla when made into a tea. A chunk about the size of your fist can make 5 or 6 batches of tea. After making the tea you can dry it out and put it into alcohol to absorb the other nutrients that can't be activated with a tea. It is the king of medicinal mushrooms and its queen is reishi the other top medicinal mushroom.

I will be posting what I find here and how I found them for a reference to anyone interested. Thanks again I will be keeping you guys posted!
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 3:23 pm   #5
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Re: Where is the Chaga?

Not sure if Chaga grows on River Birch, a tree of the Southeastern and Central US (not native to MI, but native to IL/WI/MN, east to CT, south to GA and west to Texas)
River Birch is commonly planted as an ornamental in SW MI, recognized by its pinkish scaly bark.
There are some in the background of this photo I took of mums still blooming two days before Christmas last year in St. Joseph, MI. The River Birch trees are in front of the blue house on the left side of the photos.
Of course you should get permission to go into someone's yard if you do find Chaga on an ornamental birch.
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Old Mar 3, 2018, 5:17 pm   #6
Crazydave
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Re: Where is the Chaga?

I have been around Berrien/Cass counties looking for chaga lately. No luck. I did find one piece too high to retrieve, but I got things in my pack for that now! Oddly, that was just into Indiana. I was also looking at mostly white birch trees, which are not so plentiful around here.
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Old Mar 6, 2018, 11:05 pm   #7
Jochs
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Re: Where is the Chaga?

Does Chaga occur exclusively on birch trees, or can they be found on trees in the birch family other than birches? The native Speckled Alder is found in boggy areas, around Grand Mere State Park in Berrien County, and the European Alder is found along the Paw Paw River from the Watervliet area all the way to where it flows into the St. Joseph River.
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Old Mar 7, 2018, 4:35 pm   #8
Crazydave
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Re: Where is the Chaga?

I have read it grows on various types of birch, predominantly white birch, further North. Also on elm and some other trees, but not as often. Heck if I know though.
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Old Mar 7, 2018, 8:50 pm   #9
JonDaHighlander
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Re: Where is the Chaga?

It can grow on others but from what I know, white (paper) birch and maybe yellow birch are the only ones with medicinal value. About mid state and further north it's like fish in a barrel. Heck I've got a birch chaga log in my yard I saved and about 20 pounds left to grind. I've got 5 mason jars filled with ground up chaga. One bit of advice is, if you find and harvest, break it up as small as possible before it dries! If not , you need a sledge hammer literally.
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