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Pseudohydnum gelatinosum

[ Basidiomycetes > Tremellales > Exidiaceae > Pseudohydnum . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Steve Martin used to claim that he shaved his tongue--which must mean that he has Pseudohydnum gelatinosum in his mouth, since this mushroom looks for all the world like a tiny, gelatinous tongue in need of a shave; its underside is covered with tiny spines. It is a Jelly Fungus that looks like a Toothed Mushroom, found on conifer wood or on woody debris in conifer forests.

Two fairly distinct versions of Pseudohydnum gelatinosum occur in North America, but whether or not they represent separate "species" is unclear (to me, but I admit that I haven't spent much time investigating the matter in mycological literature). One version seems to develop a vertical stem with regularity, and typically fruits from terrestrial woody debris or from the tops of very well decayed logs; it appears primarily in western North America. The other version has a stem that is less well developed, and typically fruits from the sides of logs or from standing trees, often in overlapping clusters; it appears in eastern North America. Cap colors range from translucent white to fairly dark brown, and the browner colors seem to be more typical of the eastern, short-stemmed version. However, there is substantial overlap between these forms.


Ecology: Saprobic on the wood or woody debris of conifers; sometimes growing from standing trees (and reported by some as parasitic); growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; in eastern North America frequently growing in overlapping clusters; late summer and fall, or fall and winter in warmer climates; widely distributed in North America, but apparently rare or absent in many areas.

Cap: 1-7 cm across; tongue-shaped or kidney-shaped; broadly convex or flat; gelatinous but not slimy to the touch; smooth or finely fuzzy; translucent white to grayish, brown, or fairly dark brown; the margin tucked under when young.

Undersurface: Spines to 3 mm long; running down the stem; translucent white or pale grayish; sometimes faintly bluish.

Stem: To 6 cm long; either lateral and stubby (when specimens are growing from the sides of logs) or well developed and vertical (when specimens are growing from the tops of logs or from terrestrial woody debris); gelatinous; smooth; colored like the cap or paler.

Flesh: Translucent; gelatinous.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 4.5-8 µ; round or nearly so; smooth; often germinating by repetition. Basidia cruciate-septate; subglobose; 9-12 µ; with sterigmata to 20 µ long.

REFERENCES: (Scopoli, 1772) Karsten, 1868. (Fries, 1821; Saccardo, 1888; Lowy, 1971; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Barron, 1999; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Binion et al., 2008.) Herb. Kuo 01130515.

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Pseudohydnum gelatinosum
British Columbia

Pseudohydnum gelatinosum

Pseudohydnum gelatinosum

Pseudohydnum gelatinosum

Pseudohydnum gelatinosum

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Kuo, M. (2006, February). Pseudohydnum gelatinosum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: