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Summary: Hydnellum peckii is easy to identify when red droplets exude from a white or pink surface, especially with the peppery taste of the flesh. Other features include a top-shaped fruitbody that often incorporates debris; a cap that white to pink when young or on growing margin, but darkening from the center, the cap surface nodular, ridged and pitted; tough flesh that is pinkish brown to brown; pinkish teeth that become brown; and a tough stem colored like the cap or darker. It is common in the Pacific Northwest (Arora). It occurs in WA (Hall), BC (some of the collections at Pacific Forestry Centre determined by K.A. Harrison), CA (MykoWeb), NS to NC in the mountains (Lincoff), and NY (Coker). There are collections from BC at the University of British Columbia, WA at the University of Washington, and OR at Oregon State University. It has been reported from ID by Andrew Parker, pers. comm.
Cap: 2.5-15cm, top-shaped becoming convex to flat or depressed; white to pink when young or on actively growing margin, darkening to brown, dark brown, or vinaceous brown from center outward; felty or velvety when young or on actively growing margin, when old becoming nearly bald and "lumpy or jagged with projecting nodules, and often ridged and/or pitted"; "beaded with or exuding bright ruby-red to dark red droplets when fresh and moist"; often with needles and debris incorporated, (Arora), 3-8(10)cm across, at first irregularly rounded to depressed, later flat to funnel-shaped, margin undulating-crenate [wavy-scalloped]; whitish, later red-brown, with blood-red droplets while growing, when old black-brown; radially grooved, pitted, with thick, erect, pointed scales; margin whitish, spotted with black-brown when droplets dry up, (Breitenbach), margin staining reddish brown on handling, (Harrison(4))
Flesh: in both cap and stem "tough and fibrous-corky, faintly zoned"; pinkish buff to cinnamon brown, dark reddish brown, or dingy brown, (Arora), in cap and stem "duplex, pale pink-brown, concentrically zoned, with many interspersed small blackish dots", (Breitenbach)
Teeth: 0.1-0.6cm, sometimes decurrent; dull pinkish becoming brown or purplish brown, often with paler tips, (Arora), up to 0.5cm x 0.02cm, decurrent; whitish, later red-brown, (Breitenbach), crowded (Lincoff), teeth staining reddish brown on handling, (Harrison
Stem: 0.5-7.5cm x 1-2(3)cm, "central or off-center, equal or narrowing downward and sometimes rooting, or occasionally swollen at base", stem solid, tough or woody; colored more or less like cap or darker; felty or velvety, (Arora), 1-5cm x 1-3cm, solid, commonly fused with substrate; red-brown, (Breitenbach)
Odor: mild to fragrant or pungent (Arora), weakly sour (Breitenbach), slightly disagreeable (Lincoff)
Taste: typically extremely peppery (Arora), peppery (Breitenbach), farinaceous but with a peppery after-taste in the throat, remaining peppery when dried, (Harrison(3))
Microscopic: spores 4.5-5.5 x 3.5-4.5 microns, round or nearly round, prominently warted, (Arora), spores 5-6 x 4-4.5 microns, nearly round to elliptic, with irregular blunt coarse tubercles, inamyloid; basidia 4-spored, 20-27 x 7-8 microns, clavate, without basal clamp connection; cystidia not seen; hyphae monomitic, in the spines thin-walled to thick-walled, colorless, in the cap trama 2-5.5 microns wide, brownish; some septa with clamp connections, (Breitenbach), tubercles on spores rather low, some truncated; hyphae loosely interwoven at surface, with numerous yellowish laticiferous hyphae 7-8 microns wide included in layer, numerous amorphous inclusions in tissue of stem, these less frequent in cap, clamp connections present, (Harrison(3))
Spore Deposit: brown (Arora), "army-brown", (Harrison)
Habitat / Range
single to scattered, gregarious, or in fused clusters on ground under conifers, (Arora), single (sometimes concrescent) or gregarious-cespitose on soil among mosses and needle litter in conifer forest, (Breitenbach), late summer to fall (Buczacki)
Hydnellum diabolus Banker (also known as H. diabolum Banker) is a similar species synonymized by Maas Geesteranus with Hydnellum peckii. Baird(2) disagrees, saying that the cap of H. diabolus is strigose hairy, and that of H. peckii bald (and may be highly colliculose or scrobiculate at the disc). Harrison(3) also disagrees, saying that H. diabolus has a strong pleasant odor of bee balm and the surface appears hirsute (unevenly strigose under the lens) and rarely matted. Hydnellum peckii on the other hand has a slightly disagreeable odor, and the surface is very uneven with numerous projections and a covering that is cottony fibrillose and mats down, taking on a very dark appearance, the differences in the surfaces being readily apparent in the herbarium. Harrison(4) gives H. peckii as having a white cap with red droplets when young, darkening and scrobiculate when old, dark matted cuticular mycelium 'apparent amyloid', whereas H. diabolus is "Not as above" and has velutinous [velvety] cap, with red droplets, cuticular hyphal mycelium not 'apparent amyloid'. According to Hall(3), the stem of H. diabolum is irregularly thickened, while that of H. peckii is regularly thickened by a definite spongy layer, and the cap of H. diabolum is tomentose, while that of H. peckii is bald when old. Franklin(1) says that some CA collections have a strigose surface that fits the H. diabolus concept. There are collections at the University of British Columbia from BC, WA, and OR labeled Hydnellum diabolus. Smith(15) reports it from OR but describes a "very strong somewhat pungent-farinaceous" odor, bitter-farinaceous taste that leaves a pronounced burning sensation in the throat, and a layer of tomentum that covers the rapidly growing parts. Hall(3) reports that when specimens were examined at the herbarium of the University of Michigan in 1965, it became apparent that the species in the Pacific Northwest is H. peckii. The existence of Hydnellum diabolus in the Pacific Northwest is open to further investigation.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-06-16 4:23:26 AM
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