The Numerisugitake, locally known in Iwate as the Yanagi Modashi, grows from late summer into the fall on Japanese willow trees, usually at least a meter off the ground. Their grotesque appearance deters most, but after being boiled they become smooth like nameko, and taste like them as well. In Japan they are regarded as quite delicious and treasured by those in the know. Preserving them with salt for winter consumption is recommended.
Season: July to November
Where: Mostly Japanese Willow (やなぎ) but also on some poplar, oak, and beech trees. Partially rotted and fallen trees are also good places to look.
Characteristics: Best picked when the head is around 5 to 12 cm in diameter.They are slimy looking and have dark colored marks on the top of the head.
Eating: They are not at all poisonous, but boil them separately before preparing them and throw out the water. They are similar to Nameko, and also good in miso soup.