You've seen lots of turkey tails -- from the ones on the wild creatures that live in the woodlands to the ones you might have made as a child with your hand on a piece of paper.
But there's another kind of turkey tail you'll find in the forest -- it's the turkey tail fungus. The second part of its Latin name, Trametes versicolor, means many colored. And if you see one in the wild, you'll notice that it is many-colored, and it does look like a turkey tail. This fungus is a shelf mushroom, which means it appears to be bracketed on top of one another and inserted to the side of a tree. The best place to find a turkey tail fungus is by looking down at decaying and dying trees. You can find them spring through fall and even into winter.
Here's a photo of a turkey tail fungus taken by Carol Freeman. You can note the tan, white, green and dark brown colors in this mushroom. It's being studied for its medicinal purposes -- some scientists think that it can slow the progression of tumors and reduce the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. More studies are needed; in the meantime, take a walk in the woods this autumn and look for turkey tails.