Sparassis crispa, known as brain fungus, the cauliflower or noodle mushroom.
Found in Virginia Water, Surrey, UK, at the base of a pine tree.
This was my first encounter with this mammoth of mushrooms. It was over 20 cm across! Apparently – a delicacy, which I didn’t know at the time.
From a website:
“The Chinese and Japanese cultivate the mushroom both for fine dining and for use in pharmaceuticals. The fruit bodies possess anti-tumor properties and contain chemicals that stimulate the immune system. If you wish to cook a culinary creation from the cauliflower mushroom, select a fresh one and pay particular attention to cleaning, especially if you are a vegan and are opposed to micro amounts of animal protein. Insects find the fleshy fungi, with its deeps furrows, as a natural incubator for their eggs and larvae. Only pick while white! After it turns brown it is extremely bitter and you could be bugged by gastric distress.”