Midwest

American

Mycological

Information

 Hericium Erinaceus

Hericium erinaceus

Common name: Lion’s Mane, Bearded Tooth, Hedgehog Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Old Man’s Beard, Unbranched Hericium.

Description: The bearded tooth fungus is white when fresh and yellowish with age. It has long spines. The fungus is 4-10” (10-25 cm) across. It is an oval to rounded solid mass of spines which hang in a beardlike fashion. The spines cover the sides and are formed in lines. This fungus is attached to the tree by a tough, thick, root like structure. The spines are .4 – 1.5 “ (1-4cm) long.

Ecology/associated hosts: The bearded tooth can be parasitic, found on living trees; especially oak, maple, and beech, and saprotrophic, found on decaying hardwoods. The season is from August – November.

Harvest: Harvest of bearded tooth mushrooms can be difficult as often the fungus is growing high in a tree. The best method is to cut the fruit body at the base, close to the tree and thus remove it in one piece.

Many wild picked Hericium mushrooms may house various tiny beetles and/or sawdust, appearing like bits of decayed wood. Thorough cleaning by shaking and hand removal of such nuisances is often needed. If the mushroom has begun to discolor to a yellowish tone, it is too old and likely will have a sour or unpleasant flavor after cooking.

Hericium Coralloides
(aka Hericium ramosum)

Hericium coralloides

Common name: Comb Tooth.

Description: The comb tooth Hericium is a large whitish mass with an open framework of toothed branches. The mushroom is 4-10” (10-25cm) wide and 3-6” (7.5-15 cm) high. There are many branches with coarse toothy structures on both sides of the branch somewhat like the teeth on a comb. The external appearance is white to creamy. The flesh is soft, brittle and white.

Spines are .1-.4” (0.5-1cm) long to 1” (2.5 cm) long and are in tufts. Branches are usually on the sides or the undersurface.

The stalk is an indistinct stub and is hairy.

Ecology/associated hosts: The comb tooth is saprotrophic, found on decaying, deciduous wood such as maple, beech, birch. It may also be found on conifer. The season is from August – October.

Harvest: To harvest the comb tooth, the best method is to cut the fruit body at the base, close to the wood and thus remove it in one piece.

Many wild picked Hericium mushrooms may house various tiny beetles and/or sawdust, appearing like bits of decayed wood. Thorough cleaning by shaking and hand removal of such nuisances is often needed. If the mushroom has begun to discolor to a yellowish tone, it is too old and likely will have a sour or unpleasant flavor after cooking.

Hericium Americanum

Hericium americanum

Common name: Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus.

Description: The Bear’s Head Tooth fungus is white when fresh and yellowish with age. It has long spines and a branched fruiting body. The fungus is 6-12” (15-30 cm) across. It is a tightly branched structure which arises from a rooted base. The spines are 1/4 - 1-1/2” (.5-4cm) long and hang from the branches in clusters or rows.

Ecology/associated hosts: This fungus is found growing in open clusters or alone on dead hardwood logs and stumps or from wounds of living hardwoods. It has been identified from conifer wood but this is not typical. It is found in late summer and fall.

Harvest: Harvest of Bear’s Tooth Fungus can be difficult as often the fungus is growing high in a tree. The best method to harvest is to cut the fruit body at the base, close to the tree and thus remove it in one piece.

Wild picked Hericium mushrooms may house various tiny beetles and/or sawdust, appearing like bits of decayed wood. Thorough cleaning by shaking and hand removal of such nuisances is often needed. If the mushroom has begun to discolor to a yellowish tone, it is too old and likely will have a sour or unpleasant flavor after cooking.

The following applies to all Hericium species:

Poisonous look-alikes: There are no poisonous look-alikes although there may be confusion with specific species identification. Two other species are treated elsewhere in this work. There could be some confusion with various coral mushrooms found growing on the forest floor rather than attached to logs or stumps.

Possible allergic reactions: There are no reported problems with any Hericium mushrooms. As with any food, certain individuals may have personal sensitivities or allergies. Take the same precautions that are recommended for all edible, wild mushrooms: cook them well, eat only a small amount the first time you try them. Some people have had allergic reactions to the store-brought white button mushroom, so precaution is always recommended when trying any mushroom for the first time. Do not try more than one new species of mushroom at the same time.

Storage: Hericium species are best preserved by freezing. The mushroom may be frozen either whole or in pieces. A brief sauté prior to freezing can be beneficial. To freeze mushrooms whole it is recommended that you first drop the mushroom into a pot of boiling water for about one minute. Remove the mushroom from the water and then drain well. Place the mushrooms on cookie sheets and then place the cookie sheet into a freezer for about 30 - 40 minutes or until the mushrooms are frozen. Remove the mushrooms and transfer them to labeled airtight containers or bags.

Photos:

Hericium erinaceus

Hericium erinaceus

Hericium coralloides

Hericium coralloides

Hericium americanum

Hericium americanum

References:

Arora, David (1979, 1986) Mushrooms Demystified, Ten Speed Press, p. 615.

David Fischer, americanmushrooms.com 

Kuo, Michael: Hericium | Hericium erinaceus | Hericium coralloides | Hericium americanum

Lincoff, Gary, National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, Chanticleer Press, 1981, pp. 431, 597-98.

Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club, Mushrooms: Cleaning, Cooking and Preserving