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Hericium americanum


Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus

ParentsUnknownGenus is not in the current taxonomy
GenusHericiumMushrooms with fruiting bodies that look like groups of icicles
Speciesamericanum“From America”

About plant names...

Bear’s head tooth fungus, a rather unwieldy name, is so named because ... well, to tell you the truth, I don’t get it. Growing out of the side of a hardwood, it resembles clusters of white hanging icicles, or perhaps a miniature frozen waterfall. We found one specimen well out of reach on a living oak tree, and spent considerable time fetching a stick long enough to dislodge it. See below for what we did with it. This species used to be called Hericium coralloides, but this name has since been reassigned, in what could reasonably be considered a groundbreaking contribution to the ongoing confusion about botanical naming, to another species. See Michael Kuo’s opinion on this matter...

Identification: These fungi are white or yellowish, usually found on hardwoods, rarely on conifers. They can appear on living or dead trees. Masses are 6-12" (15-30 cm) in size, gelatinous in texture. The primary identifying characteristic is the long “icicles.” They fruit from July to October.

Edibility: When these are young (white, not yellowed or brownish), they are delicious. I chose to roast some for about 40 minutes, which reduced them in size, then cut them up and add them to a fettuccine alfredo dish. They tasted more like a cross between lobster and scallops. There are many other recipes for it.

Online References:

Hericium americanum by Gary Emberger at Messiah College

Hericium americanum on Michael Kuo's MushroomExpert.com

Hericium americanum at Wisconsin Mushrooms

Hericium americanum on Tom Volk's Fungi site, at the Department of Biology at the University of Wisconsin

Hericium americanum on AmericanMushrooms.com

Hericium americanum on themushroomforager.com

Bizarre plants on www.weirdworm.com


Bessette, Alan E., Bessette, Arleen R., Fischer, David W., Mushrooms of Northeastern North America, Syracuse University Press, 1997, p. 407

Hericium americanum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.

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Hericium americanum (Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus)

10/8/2006 · Milford, PA

Hericium americanum (Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus)

10/8/2006 · Milford, PA

Hericium americanum (Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus)

10/8/2006 · Milford, PA

Hericium americanum (Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus)

10/8/2006 · Milford, PA