Hericium cirrhatum: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Hericium cirrhatum Mushroom
Hericium cirrhatum is a very rare mushroom that grows on dead hardwood trees. When young and fresh they are generally considered to be choice edibles with a fine flavor and texture similar to fish or tender meat.
Found in Europe and rare in North America. Some sources say its presence in North America is debatable, but the few herbarium records online include ones by A.H. Smith (Colorado) and Chuck Barrows (New Mexico). In Britain, it is illegal to gather this very rare species, which has legal protection under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which precludes picking and destruction of the fruitbodies.
Although DNA analysis has confirmed that many tooth fungi (such as the Wood Hedgehog Hydnum repandum) are properly - Classified in the order Canthellales, the Tiered Tooth is now included in the order Russulales.
Other names: Tiered Tooth Fungus, Spine-face.
Hericium cirrhatum Identification
This remarkable fungus and other members of the Hericiaceae are distinguished by their icicle-like spines. Hericium cirrhatum produces irregular cream fruitbodies with little or no real stem. The whole fruitbody is usually 5 to 10cm across, often occurring in tiered groups covering a large area. The typical thickness is 2 or 3cm. Spines are pointed and usually a little more than 1 to 1.5cm long.
Subglobose, smooth, 3.5-4.5 x 3-3.5µm; amyloid.
Odor and Taste
Odor not distinctive when young, although decaying specimens give off a nauseating smell.
Habitat & Ecological role
Saprobic, on dead wood of beech and occasionally other broadleaf trees, rarely appearing in the same place for more than a year or two.
Hericium cirrhatum Look-Alikes
Hydnum Rufescens and Hydnum repandum
Have downward-projecting spines, but they are attached to a smooth-topped cap.
Very rare it has longer spines and a more spherical fruitbody.
Is matted hairy on top, somewhat resembling a Trametes.
Is typically in large overlapping clusters on maple.
Has flattened teeth and angular pores.
Hericium cirrhatum Taxonomy & Etymology
When in 1801 Christiaan Hendrik Persoon described this wood-rotting fungus he gave it the binomial scientific name Hydnum cirrhatum. It was Russian mycologist Taisiya Lvovna Nikolayeva (1902 - 1982) who, in 1950, transferred this species to its current genus, thus establishing the scientific name Hericium cirrhatum by which it is generally known today.
Synonyms of Hericium cirrhatum include Hydnum cirrhatum Pers., Hydnum diversidens Fr., Creolophus cirrhatus (Pers.) P. Karst., and Hericium diversidens (Fr.) Nikol.
Hericium, the generic name, means pertaining to a hedgehog, and is a reference to the spiny fertile surfaces of fungi within this grouping. The specific epithet cirrhatum means 'having tendrils' - another reference to the dangly spines.
Help Improve Ultimate Mushroom
If you find an error or you want to add more information about the mushroom please click here.