Hericium erinaceus

Hericium erinaceus
Image Courtesy of Emily Johnson
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Group of Fungi: Tooth Fungi

Family: Hericiaceae

Latin Name: Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Pers.

Common Name: Lion's Mane

Description: Globose to somewhat cushion-shaped structure consisting of what appears to be a solid mass of downward projecting spines, the entire structure 2–10 in (5–25 cm) in diameter and attached by a short, stalk-like base, white at first but becoming dingy yellow in age; spines 3/4–1 5/8 in (2–4 cm) long; spores white in mass.

Biological Role: Parasite of living broadleaf trees.

Habitat: Usually associated with wounds on the trunks of living broadleaf trees but it can persist after the tree has died; usually solitary.

Geographical Distribution: Found throughout North America.

Comments: This is a distinctive fungus that is unlikely to be confused with anything else. Hericium ramosum is found in similar situations but has shorter spines that occur on a series of branches instead of forming a single solid mass. Both fungi are edible when young and still white in color.

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