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Hericium erinaceus

 

Lion’s Mane, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, Pom Pom Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Fungus

ParentsUnknownGenus is not in the current taxonomy
GenusHericiumMushrooms with fruiting bodies that look like groups of icicles
Specieserinaceus

About plant names...

Lion’s mane mushrooms are native to North America, Europe, and Asia. The cultivated ones shown here are courtesy of the Fat Moon Farm in Westford, Massachusetts.

Identification: There are several members of this species, all resembling each other, and looking like nothing else in the kingdom of fungi. They are white and gelatinous, and quite heavy, up to 4-8" (10-20 cm) at maturity. They are festooned with dangling spines, tiny stalagtites only a millimeter long in young specimens, and more than a centimeter in mature specimens. The spines are called rhizomorphs, which translates roughly to “rootlike thingers.” These form a single ball, looking like snowballs—or tribbles, if you happen to be a Star Trek fan. Other similar species form many small masses, looking more like a series of small, frozen waterfalls. They appear on living or recently dead hardwoods, often well up above the ground, especially in beech forests. Although white at first, the spines discolor to yellow, pinkish, or brown as the mushroom ages.

Edibility: These are delicious! Sliced into half-inch slabs and sautéed gently in oil, with some butter added as they begin to brown, they have a flavor and flaky texture reminiscent of crab legs or lobster. There are many recipes for them on the web.

Medicinal: Lion’s manes are widely consumed in parts of Asia, in part for a host of alleged nutritional and health benefits dating back to 2000 BCE. They are a subject of active research today. See, for example, the (paywalled) article Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Pro­perties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Com­pounds.

Online References:

Hericium erinaceus on Michael Kuo's MushroomExpert.com

Hericium erinaceus on Mykoweb.com: the Fungi of California

Hericium erinaceus on Wikipedia

Hericium erinaceus on Shroomery: Magic Mushrooms Demystified

Hericium erinaceus on powo.science.kew.org

Hericium erinaceus on www.medicalmushrooms.net

Hericium erinaceus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 27 Nov 2017.

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Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, Pom Pom Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Fungus)

11/20/2017 · Fat Moon Farm, Westford, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 11 cm)

Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, Pom Pom Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Fungus)

11/20/2017 · Fat Moon Farm, Westford, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, Pom Pom Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Fungus)

11/20/2017 · Fat Moon Farm, Westford, MA
≈ 10 × 6" (24 × 16 cm)

Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, Pom Pom Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Fungus)

The mushrooms resemble caulifower in cross-section. · 11/20/2017 · Fat Moon Farm, Westford, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, Pom Pom Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Fungus)

This is how they look when they go into the fry pan. · 11/20/2017 · Fat Moon Farm, Westford, MA
≈ 15 × 9" (36 × 23 cm)

Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, Pom Pom Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Fungus)

These were cut into half-inch-thick slabs, sautéed in oil with some butter added as they brown. · 11/20/2017 · Fat Moon Farm, Westford, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)