E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Hericium erinaceus (Bull. ex Fr.) Pers.
bearded tooth

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Andrea Estell  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26479)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Hericium erinaceus
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Species Information

Hericium erinaceus forms an unbranched mass of long, closely packed, parallel hanging white spines that discolor to yellowish or yellowish brown, growing on hardwoods. The dried and ground flesh is used as a styptic by some people according to Lincoff (1981). Note that the ending of "erinaceus" is masculine even though Hericium is neuter, because "erinaceus" is a noun, not an adjective. It is found in WA (Hall), CA (Arora), OR, AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, NC, NJ, NY, PA, VA, and WV, (Ginns), There are collections from BC deposited at the Pacific Forestry Centre and the University of British Columbia. It also occurs in Europe and Russia (Siberia), (Coker).
8-40cm or more broad and high when mature; "an unbranched mass of numerous long, closely-packed, icicle-like spines hanging from a tough, solid, hairy, rooting cushion of tissue"; white, discoloring yellowish to tan or dingy ocher when old, (Arora), fruitbody massive, nearly spherical to ovoid or somewhat lobed, hanging from near the top by a laterally attached stem, bearing on the outer surface a dense mass of spines; white when fresh, "soon turning sordid yellowish, then dark brown and becoming very much lighter in weight on drying"; "the upper surface above the spines roughened by more or less collapsed or agglutinated hairs or filaments or a coarse spongy pubescence", (Coker)
white (Arora), fruitbody solid or somewhat lacunose, fleshy-tough, sappy, (Coker)
(1)2-5(7)cm long, soft and pliant when fresh, with pointed tips, (Arora), about 1-3(4)cm, long, fleshy, sharp, parallel, pendent, fusing gradually toward base and merging into the flesh of the fruitbody, (Coker)
laterally attached, thick, tough, ropy, (Coker)
slightly acid (Lincoff(1)), fungoid (Miller)
sweetish (Lincoff(1)), mild and pleasant (Miller)
spores 5-6.5 x 4-5.5 microns, broadly elliptic to nearly round, smooth to minutely roughened, amyloid, (Arora), spores 5-6.5 x 4-5.5 microns, nearly round, white, some minutely roughened with dots; basidia 4-spored, 5-6.5 microns thick, slenderly clavate; gloeocystidia "about 7.2 microns thick, some with encrusted tip, contents denser than surrounding cells"; hyphae of body up to 12-14 microns wide, colorless, thick-walled, at times closing the lumen, "curling and interwoven, moderately branched, septate with occasional clamp connections", (Coker), spores 5.3-6.6 x 4.7-5.3 microns, nearly round to elliptic, smooth or minutely punctate-roughened; basidia 4-spored, 40-50 x 5.3-6.0 microns; cystidia 43-52 x 5-7 microns, cylindric, extending into the spine trama, thick-walled, sometimes with encrusted tip; hyphae up to 14 microns wide, "dimitic, thick-walled, curling and interwoven, moderately branched"; clamp connections present, (Hall), trama with thick-walled, amyloid cells, (Miller)
Spore Deposit:
white (Arora)

Habitat / Range

single or rarely several together on wounds of living hardwoods or cut ends of recently felled hardwood logs, (Arora), grows from rotting wood of hardwoods, causing a heartwood rot, (Coker), late summer and fall (Miller)

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


excellent when fresh, but tougher than other Hericium species and sometimes developing a rather sour unpleasant taste when old, (Arora)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Coker(1), Hall(1), Arora(1)*, Lincoff(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Miller(14)*, McKnight(1)*, Ginns(5), AroraPocket*, Bacon(1)*, Buczacki(1)*

References for the fungi

General References