Climacodon septentrionalis: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Climacodon septentrionalis Mushroom
Climacodon septentrionalis is a species of polypore fungus in the family Meruliaceae. It is a plant pathogen. Originally named Hydnum septentrionale by Elias Magnus Fries in 1821, it was transferred to the genus Climacodon by Petter Karsten in 1881. It is inedible.
Climacodon septentrionalis is usually impressive, forming massive clusters that can be seen from many yards away. The fruiting bodies are extremely durable and can last for many weeks - long enough that the caps of old specimens often begin to take on a greenish hue as a result of colonizing algae.
This mushroom is parasitic, causing a heartwood rot, and is especially fond of sugar maple and beech; it is frequently found growing from the wounds of these trees, high above the ground.
Climacodon septentrionalis looks like a polypore until the spines are noticed. It causes a heart rot of trees in urban areas, parks, and forests.
Synonyms: Steccherinum septentrionale (Fr.) Banker; Hydnum septentrionale Fr.
Other names: Northern Tooth.
Climacodon septentrionalis Identification
Occurrence on wood substrate
Parasitic; in dense overlapping clusters on trunks of living deciduous trees, particularly maple (Acer) and beech (Fagus); July through October.
Individual caps up to 30 cm wide and from 2.5-5 cm thick at the base. Overlapping clusters of shelving caps may be up to 80 cm high.
Upper cap surfaces are whitish to creamy-yellow when young and become yellow-brown in age. Cap surfaces are hairy to rough. Odor and taste when young are not distinctive but the odor of old specimens are described as like old, spoiled ham and the taste becomes bitter. The crowded, whitish spines on the underside of the caps are 0.5-2 cm long and have lacerated or ragged tips. Like the cap surfaces, the spines become yellowish in age.
Absent, but caps often share a whitish basal plate.
White; tough; unchanging when sliced; zoned.
Odor and Taste
Taste mild when young, but bitter or unpleasant in age; odor not distinctive, becoming foul with age.
Spores 4.5-5 x 2-2.5 µ; smooth; ellipsoid; inamyloid. Cystidia fusoid to mucronate; thick-walled; often encrusted. Hyphal system monomitic. Clamp connections present.
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