Major Groups > Toothed Mushrooms


Toothed Mushrooms  

[ Basidiomycota . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Mushrooms with spines or "teeth" do not form a natural taxonomic group, but putting them together simplifies identification; while the toothed mushrooms range widely in their appearance, the presence of the spines helps separate them from the thousands of other mushrooms that lack spines.

Some of these mushrooms, like Auriscalpium vulgare, are fairly easy to identify—but others can make for a frustrating experience. I find many species of Hydnellum to be very difficult to separate (figuratively and literally, since their flesh is so tough). The key below will lead you to a species in a few instances, but is primarily designed to sort out the various genera of toothed mushrooms.

Toothed Mushroom Pages

Auriscalpium vulgare
Climacodon pulcherrimus
Climacodon septentrionalis
Fuscopostia fragilis
   Hericium abietis
   Hericium americanum
   Hericium coralloides
   Hericium erinaceus
   Hydnellum aurantiacum
   Hydnellum caeruleum
   Hydnellum concrescens
   Hydnellum spongiosipes
   Hydnellum suaveolens
Hydnum aerostatisporum
Hydnum alboaurantiacum
Hydnum oregonense
Hydnum repandum
Hydnum subtilior
Mycorraphium adustum
Phellodon alboniger
Phellodon confluens
Pseudohydnum gelatinosum
Radulomyces copelandii
Sarcodon imbricatus
Sarcodon scabrosus
Spongipellis pachyodon
Steccherinum ochraceum


Hericium erinaceus

Hydnellum caeruleum

Steccherinum ochraceum

Hydnum aerostatisporum

Key to Genera (and a Few Species) of Toothed Mushrooms

1.Growing on the cones of conifers or on conifer duff composed of cone fragments.

1.Growing elsewhere.

2.Growing on wood.

2.Growing on the ground.

3.Mushroom small (1-6 cm across), gelatinous and translucent; cap whitish to grayish or brownish in age, spatula-shaped or tongue-shaped; growing on the wood or woody debris of conifers.

3.Not as above.

4.Mushroom a patch of tiny orange spines, usually with a folded-over cap edge but without a fully developed cap; on the wood of hardwoods.

4.Not as above.

5.Mushroom without a distinct cap, consisting of either a clump of hanging spines, or a branched structure with spines hanging from the branches.

5.Cap present.

6.Flesh not white.

6.Flesh white.

7.Flesh brick red; growing on fir or hemlock in western North America.
Echinodontium tinctorium

7.Flesh brown; growing on Atlantic White Cedar on the Atlantic Coast.
Echinodontium ballouii

8.Underside of cap not completely and regularly toothed; pores present along the margin or overall when the mushroom is young; spines not more or less equal in length, or spines concentrated near the point of attachment to the wood.

8.Not as above.

9.Cap matted-hairy, shell-shaped (reminiscent of a Trametes), whitish to pale tan or faintly orangish; teeth creamy to brownish; KOH red on cap surface and flesh; cap hyphae with double clamp connections.

9.Not as above.

10.Growing in overlapping shelves (rarely alone); edges of caps not blackening in age; usually found on stumps, dead trunks, large logs, or growing from the wounds of living trees; mature caps often large (over 10 cm across).

10.Growing alone or in small clusters but not shelf-like; edges of caps blackening in age; usually found on dead branches, sticks, and small logs; mature caps under 8 cm across.

11.Cap surface often with tooth-like scales (see the illustration on the linked page); presence in North America debatable but if present, rare.
Creolophus cirrhatus

11.Cap surface hairy or roughened but lacking tooth-like scales; common and widely distributed in northern and northeastern North America (possibly elsewhere).

12.Mature cap up to 8 cm across; spores cylindrical.

12.Mature cap 2 cm across or less; spores elliptical.
Mycorrhaphium adustulum

13.Spore print white.

13.Spore print brown.

14.Flesh tough (corky or leathery).

14.Flesh soft.
Hydnum & Bankera

15.Flesh tough (corky or leathery); mushroom sometimes engulfing debris as it grows.

15.Flesh soft; stem not usually short and squat; mushroom not engulfing debris.


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Kuo, M. (2010, May). Toothed mushrooms. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site:

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