What You Should Know
Hydnellum suaveolens is an inedible fungus often found beneath conifers. It has a funnel-shaped cap that is typically between 5–15 cm (2–6 in) in diameter. It has a strong odor of anise or peppermint.
Other names: Sweet-Smelling Hydnellum, Sweet Spine, Wohlriechender Korkstacheling (German).
Hydnellum suaveolens Mushroom Identification
Mycorrhizal with conifers (especially spruces); growing alone or gregariously; summer and fall; widely distributed in northern and montane North America, and on the West Coast from the San Francisco Bay Area northward.
Usually single but occasionally fused with other caps; 5–15 cm wide; convex, becoming flat; dry; velvety; becoming wrinkled, ridged, or pitted (sometimes cracking up into scales); white to whitish or very pale yellowish when fresh and young, becoming dingy grayish to brownish or olive over the center.
Running down the stem; covered with crowded spines that are 3–7 mm long; whitish at first, becoming brownish to brown as the spores mature.
2–5 cm long; 1–3 cm thick at apex; more or less stubby and cylindric; purplish-blue; bruising blackish-blue where handled; dry; velvety.
Whitish to brownish, with zones of blue or brown (especially in the stem); tough but pliant.
Odor and Taste
Odor strong and fragrant or minty, often developing slowly after the mushroom is picked; taste mild.
KOH on flesh bluish.
Spores 4–6 x 2–4 µm; irregular; nodulose; hyaline to brownish in KOH. Clamp connections are present.
Hydnellum suaveolens Medicinal Properties
Antioxidant activity. Fractionation of methanol extracts of the fruit bodies Hydnellum suaveolens resulted in the isolation of two new p-terphenyl derivatives named hydnellins A and B as well as sarcodonin δ (previously identified in Sarcodon scabrosus) (Hashimoto et al., 2006).
Hydnellum suaveolens Look-Alikes
Has a cap with a white to blue margin and brown disc, the context in the stipe base is rusty to reddish-brown (not blue), and the odor and taste are farinaceous.
Similar, but its cap and flesh are bluer; additionally, its surfaces bleed red droplets when the mushrooms are fresh and young, and its spores are cruciate. It is associated with Sitka spruce.
Photo 1 - Author: Annwahl (Public Domain)
Photo 2 - Author: Authors: Larsson K-H, Svantesson S, Miscevic D, Kõljalg U, Larsson E (2019), correct: Jerzy Opioła (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Annwahl (Public Domain)
Photo 4 - Author: Johannes Harnisch (Johann) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 5 - Author: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)