MotW 9 - Easy to spot hedgehog
This tasty mushroom is one of the world's easiest to identify.
Hedgehog Mushroom, Hydnum (Dentinum) repandum
One of the more abundant, and fine tasting mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest is the Hedgehog Mushroom, Hydnum (Dentinum) repandum, and its smaller, closely related cousin Hydnum umbilicatum, the Small Hedgehog Mushroom.
This mushroom maybe the world’s easiest to identify because of its profusion of small (white to tan) crowded spines (instead of blade like gills) on the under surface of the mushroom cap. (see photo after the jump)
While there are other species of "tooth fungi", edible Hedgehogs’ pale to dull orange caps, are easy to distinguished from other (far less abundant) similar species: that are primarily all darker, have even still darker shingle-like scales on top, and often are so bitter tasting you’d spit them out before you’d swallow them.
The only other (occasionally) lighter colored Hedgehog you might infrequently stumble across is the Robust Hedgehog Sarcodon (Hydnum) calvatum--and while not recommended, it is not believed to be poisonous. Also, its spines while initially pale, soon darken to brown, as dark scales form on the cap.
While other edible fall mushrooms species begin to disappear in December, edible Hedgehogs continue fruiting on long into the winter under both hardwood and coniferous forests. Hydnum repandum is also particularly common on the coast under Sitka Spruce.
(The discussion here does not provide a detailed description of all the characteristics of this edible mushroom. Thus, please consult a mushroom book for a more thorough description if you are collecting mushrooms for the table.)