Bear's Head Tooth Fungus, Coral Tooth Mushroom, Kammetjesstekelzwam (Netherlands).
What You Should Know
Hericium americanum is a very rare and beautiful tooth coral mushroom. It has white to slightly yellow long spines and a branched fruiting body. The inside of the fruiting body is a bit like a tuber. Grows on dead wood, live trees, hardwoods, and on conifers. The fruiting bodies appear from September to October.
It is edible when young and white. The taste of the Hericium americanum is similar to a fish or shellfish or lobster (depends on your taste). This allows them to make crab cakes and soups, as well as be pan-fried and added to other foods.
This mushroom shows promise in treating a variety of issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, digestive problems, and even cancer.
Other names: Bear's Head Tooth Fungus, Coral Tooth Mushroom, Kammetjesstekelzwam (Netherlands).
Hericium americanum Mushroom Identification
15-30 cm across; consisting of a tightly branched structure arising from a rooting base; with densely packed spines 0.5-4 cm long hanging from the branches in clusters or rows; white, or in age discoloring brownish to yellowish.
White; not changing when sliced.
Saprobic and possibly parasitic; growing alone or gregariously; fruiting on dead hardwood logs and stumps, or from the wounds of living hardwoods; documented to fruit (rarely) on conifer wood; late summer and fall; east of the Great Plains.
Spores 5-7 x 4.5-6 µ; elliptical or subglobose; amyloid; smooth or minutely rough.
Hericium americanum Look-Alikes
Have downward-projecting spines, but they are attached to a smooth-topped cap.
Has shorter spines and a much thinner bracket-like tiered fruitbody.
Young species of the Hericium americanum are very similar to this mushroom.
Hericium americanum Synonyms and Varieties
Clavaria madreporaeformis Retz., 1779
Dryodon acicularis (Sacc.) Bourdot, 1932
Dryodon clathroides (Pall.) P. Karst., 1882
Dryodon coralloides (Scop.) P. Karst., 1881
Dryodon coralloides caput-ursi (Fr.) Bourdot & Galzin, 1928
Friesites caput-ursi (Fr.) P. Karst., 1879
Friesites coralloides (Scop.) P. Karst., 1879
Hericium abietinum (Schrad.) Schleich., 1821
Hericium abietis f. brevispineum (Peck) D. Hall & D.E. Stuntz, 1971
Hericium alpestre caput-ursi (Fr.) Nikol., 1950
Hericium alpestre f. caput-ursi (Fr.) Nikol., 1950
Hericium caput-ursi (Fr.) Corner, 1955
Hericium clathroides (Pall.) Pers., 1797
Hericium coralloides f. caput-ursi (Bourdot & Galzin) Nikol., 1950
Hericium laciniatum (Leers) Banker, 1906
Hericium ramosum (Bull.) Letell., 1826
Hericium ramosum caput-ursi (Fr.) D. Hall & D.E. Stuntz, 1971
Hericium ramosum f. caput-ursi (Fr.) D. Hall & D.E. Stuntz, 1971
Hericium reichii Opiz, 1851
Hydnum abietinum Schrad., 1794
Hydnum aciculare Sacc., 1880
Hydnum caput-ursi Fr., 1863
Hydnum clathroides Pall., 1773
Hydnum coralloides Scop., 1772
Hydnum coralloides var. abietinum (Schrad.) Pers., 1801
Hydnum laciniatum Leers, 1775
Hydnum novae-zelandiae Colenso, 1889
Hydnum ramosum Bull., 1789
Hydnum stalactiticum Schrank, 1786
Manina caput-ursi (Fr.) Banker, 1912
Manina coralloides (Scop.) Banker, 1912
Medusina coralloides (Scop.) Chevall., 1826
Merisma coralloides (Scop.) Spreng., 1827
Recipe: Simple Fried Coral Tooth Mushrooms
How to cook
Preheat a frying pan, put butter (for every 1.76oz/50g of mushroom, a cube of 1.2in/3сm).
Put the coral tooth mushroom, salt and pepper, first under the lid for 10 minutes over moderate heat, evaporate excess moisture over medium heat with the lid open for 5-7 minutes.
Done! Add more salt or pepper if needed.
Optionally, the mushrooms can be fried with onions and herbs, and the oil can be replaced with vegetable oil.
Recipe: Roasted Coral Tooth Mushroom Salad
Coral tooth mushroom - 1/3 cup
Onions - 1 head
Chicken eggs - 2 pieces
Cucumber - 2 pieces
Raw smoked sausage (can be replaced with boiled pepper meat or poultry) - 1/4 cup
Vegetable oil - 2 tablespoons
Salt - 1 tablespoon
Ground black pepper - on the tip of a knife
How to cook
Clean well and rinse in cold water Coral mushroom.
Preheat a frying pan, add oil and put out the coral mushroom.
Simmer the coral mushroom for 10 minutes under the lid.
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Add the onion to the coral mushroom in a skillet and fry with the lid open for 7-10 minutes until golden brown.
Salt and pepper, taste.
Boil chicken eggs, cool, peel and chop finely.
Wash cucumbers, cut and chop them into thin strips.
Dice the raw smoked sausage.
Put the fried coral tooth mushroom in a bowl, add eggs, cucumbers and smoked sausage.
Stir the salad, add salt and pepper to taste, season with sour cream or sauce.
Recipe: Pickled Crown Coral Tooth Mushrooms
Salt – 1.5 tsp
Coral tooth mushroom – 1.5 lbs
Water – 3 cups
White vinegar – 1/3 cup
Garlic – 2 cloves of garlic
Optional add a dried chilli, favorite herbs, thyme or savory.
How to cook
Separate the coral tooth mushroom into clusters and wash them in cool water.
In a wide pan boil the water and add salt, vinegar, garlic, herbs. Heat and leave the mixture to infuse for 4 minutes.
Remove the herbs and garlic. Taste the mixture if need add more garlic or other spicy.
Add the coral tooth mushroom to the mixture and stir few seconds.
When the mushrooms are wilted replace them into 1/2 pint canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom at the top of each jar to prevent them from exploding.
Tightly close jars and process them in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Recipe: Crown Tipped Coral Parmesan Crackers
Coral tooth mushroom - 1/2 cup
Grated Parmesan - 3 tablespoons
All purpose flour - 2 tablespoons
A pinch of the salt
Flavorless cooking oil
How to cook
Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C. Toss the coral tooth mushroom, parmesan, pinch of salt, and flour together in a mixing bowl, then make small mounds roughly the size of a 1/4 cup on a baking sheet.
Flatten out the mounds lightly, then spray with oil and bake for 35 minutes, or until the mushrooms have wilted and the cheese and flour are very crisp.
Few times flip the crackers occasionally. Remember cheese should be golden, and the crackers evenly crisp, but not burnt.
Remove the crackers, cool them, and serve.
Recipe: Coral Tooth Mushroom Soup
17 oz coral tooth mushroom
8 cups of water
2 tbsp. l. melted butter
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt, pepper and bay leaf
How to cook
Clean and cut the mushrooms into large pieces, fry in butter.
Transfer them to a saucepan, pour 8 cups of water and cook for 30 minutes.
Chop potatoes, carrots, onions and parsley root. Add to mushrooms and cook for another 30 minutes. Pepper, salt, add bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes.
Tip: dish can be seasoned with cream and herbs. Before serving, the bay leaf must be pulled out of the soup.
Photo 1 - Author: John Carl Jacobs (JCJacobs) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: John Carl Jacobs (JCJacobs) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 3 - Author: John Carl Jacobs (JCJacobs) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
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Photo 5 - Author: Thomas Stoughton (Tstou10) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)