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Hericium erinaceus (bearded tooth)

A wood-recycling fungus of conservation concern, bearded tooth has distinctive white football-sized fruitbodies, covered in icicle-like projections.
Hericium erinaceus mature fruitbody on fractured branch

Hericium erinaceus mature fruitbody on fractured branch (Photo: Dr A. Martyn Ainsworth)

Species information

Common name: 

bearded tooth, old man’s beard, satyr’s beard, monkey head, bear’s head, sheep’s head, lion’s mane, hedgehog fungus, tree hedgehog, pom pom

Conservation status: 

In 2003 this species was red-listed in 13 of the 23 European countries in which it had been recorded.

Habitat: 

Occupies central deadwood of trunks and large diameter branches of living and dead, standing and fallen, broadleaved trees.

Key Uses: 

Food; medicine; indicator species (conservation).

Known hazards: 

None known.

Taxonomy

Kingdom: 
Fungi
Phylum: 
Basidiomycota
Subphylum: 
Agaricomycotina
Order: 
Russulales
Family: 
Hericiaceae
Genus: Hericium

About this species

A well-known species with large distinctive fruitbodies, often fruiting high on living tree trunks. It is as likely to be noticed by general naturalists, hikers and dog-walkers as by field mycologists. It is usually found at sites with a long history of beech (Fagus sylvatica) presence where old, collapsing trees and large-diameter limbs are retained on site. However, it can also fruit on Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) trunks, such as those felled for conservation purposes. This is often carried out to reduce the density of Knopper galls, caused by the gall wasp Andricus quercuscalicis, which may greatly reduce acorn viability, and for which Turkey oak is the sexual generation host.

Genus: 
Hericium

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