Major Groups > Toothed Mushrooms > Hydnellum


The Genus Hydnellum

[ Basidiomycetes > Thelephorales > Bankeraceae ... ]

by Michael Kuo

Hydnellum is a genus of terrestrial toothed mushrooms that feature a brown spore print and very tough, corky or leathery flesh. A few of them are brightly colored, but many are boring and brown. They are mushrooms that do not take "no" for an answer when it comes to expanding their territory; they swallow up sticks, leaves and debris, and frequently grow into each other as well, fusing their caps.

The species within Hydnellum are still defined in old-fashioned ways, and the genus will undoubtedly be revised substantially once DNA studies are done; it is likely that many of the species are dedicated to mycorrhizal relationships with certain trees, and that many of our North American hydnellums do not actually match the European species whose names they currently bear.

Thus identification, for the time being at least, depends on a suite of standard morphological features, most of which are macroscopic and fairly easily assessed. However, the species lines are often blurry and confusing in this genus, and collections frequently seem to break the rules.

Hydnellum aurantiacum
Hydnellum caeruleum
Hydnellum concrescens
Hydnellum spongiosipes
Hydnellum suaveolens


Hydnellum caeruleum

<Hydnellum concrescens

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Baird, R. E. (1986a). Type studies of North American and other related taxa of stipitate hydnums: Genera Bankera, Hydnellum, Phellodon, Sarcodon. Berlin: J. Cramer. 89 pp.

Baird, R. E. (1986b). Study of the stipitate hydnums from the southern Appalachian Mountains—Genera: Bankera, Hydnellum, Phellodon, Sarcodon. Berlin: J. Cramer. 156 pp.

Baird, R. E. & S. R. Khan (1986). The stipitate hydnums (Thelephoraceae) of Florida. Brittonia 38: 171–184.

Coker, W. C. (1919). The hydnums of North Carolina. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 34: 163–197.

Coker, W. C. & A. H. Beers (1951). The stipitate hydnums of the eastern United States. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 211 pp.

Hall, D. & D. E. Stuntz (1972). Pileate Hydnaceae of the Puget Sound Area III. Brown-Spored Genus: Hydnellum. Mycologia 64: 560–590.

Harrison, K. A. & D. W. Grund (1987a). Preliminary keys to the terrestrial stipitate hydnums of North America. Mycotaxon 28: 419–426. Note: The key to Hydnellum in this paper contains several typos and errors. Most importantly, couplet 1 should lead to couplets 2 and 11, rather than 5 and 2.

Harrison, K. A. & D. W. Grund (1987b). Differences in European and North American stipitate hydnums. Mycotaxon 28: 427–435.

Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2009, April). The genus Hydnellum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: