What You Should Know
Hydnum repandum is an edible common and widespread edible ectomycorrhizal fungus. Habitat in northern Europe and northeastern North America. Although its marginal populations are declining, there is no evidence of decline within its main population. It can be locally abundant where suitable habitat exists.
First described by Linnaeus in 1753, Hydnum repandum is a European species associated with various trees, including spruce and beech. Like other species of Hydnum it features soft spines on the underside of the cap and soft, white flesh.
These large and fleshy fungi grow in all kinds of damp woodland. In France this prized esculent goes by the charming name of Pied de Mouton. Further evidence of the reputation of these 'tooth fungi' is hidden in the generic name Hydnum, which is derived from the Greek name for a truffle.
Hydnum repandum is easily recognizable due to its distinctive appearance. The flesh can be bitter in older specimens, therefore thorough cooking is recommended, although it has been suggested that the bitterness can be removed by brushing off the spines. When served together with Chantarelles, they have a delicious, slightly oyster-flavored taste.
Other names: Wood Urchin, Wood Hedgehog, Pied du Mouton.
Hydnum repandum Mushroom Identification
Mycorrhizal with hardwoods or conifers, especially spruces and beech; growing gregariously on the ground; summer and fall; widely distributed in Europe.
6–15 cm wide; broadly convex, becoming planoconvex or flat; the margin inrolled at first, becoming wavy and broadly scalloped; dry; bald; becoming finely pocked; pale orange to nearly white.
Usually just beginning to run down the stem; covered with densely packed, soft spines that are round in cross-section and measure 2–5 mm long; creamy to very pale orange; not bruising.
3–6 cm long; 1–2.5 cm thick; sometimes somewhat off-center; dry; smooth; whitish; not bruising.
Whitish; unchanging when sliced.
Odor and Taste: Sweetish, not distinctive.
Hydnum repandum Similar Species
Sarcodon scabrosus is similar but with a dark brown, scaly cap and stem, this mushroom is quite rare and considered by some as poisonous although it is eaten in some countries dried, powdered, and used as a pepper-like condiment.
The Terracotta Hedgehog, Hydnum rufescens, pictured, is a smaller, terracotta-colored mushroom from the same family and is edible.
The Jelly Tongue, Pseudohydnum gelatinous has spines but is very jelly-like in texture and grows from wood and is edible if a little bland.
The Hedgehog Fungus is a very safe mushroom for the novice forager as long as you find a light colored mushroom growing from the ground with a stem and spines instead of gills it can’t be anything else.
Hydnum repandum Culinary Notes
This mushroom should be picked while young and free from worms and grubs. The Wood Hedgehog is delicious in all sorts of dishes from soups and risottos.
Photo 1 - Author: Holger Krisp (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Lukas from London, England (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
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Photo 4 - Author: Thomas Pruß (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 5 - Author: D J Kelly (Public Domain)