Mycol. Europ. 2: 153. 1825.
Common Name: lion's mane
Fruiting body annual, 10-20 cm broad at maturity, rounded to elongate, a mass of overlapping, slender, pendant spines arising from a short, unbranched, sometimes rooted stalk; spines up to 5-6 cm long, the tips pointed, white when fresh, becoming yellowish to yellowish-brown in age; flesh whitish, tough; odor and taste mild.
Spores 5-6 x 4-5.5 µm, nearly round, smooth to slightly roughened, amyloid; spore print white.
Solitary from branch scars of living hardwoods or on fallen logs; fruiting from late fall to mid-winter.
Edible and choice; best when young and the teeth still white to cream.
Of the three Hericiums that occur in the S.F. Bay Area, H. erinaceus is the most recognizable, with a rounded, unbranched, fruiting body composed of pendant, long, slender, white to cream, teeth. Close relatives include Hericium abietis which has a compact, branching structure with shorter, clustered teeth, found on conifer logs, and Hericium ramosum, sparsely branched with short teeth that tend to be arranged in rows, also found on hardwoods.
Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M.G. & Stevens, F.A. (2015). California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR. 560 p.
Ellis, M.B. & Ellis, J.P. (1990). Fungi without Gills (Hymenomycetes and Gasteromycetes). Chapman and Hall: London, England. 329 p.
Hall, D. & Stuntz, D.E. (1971). Pileate Hydnaceae of the Puget Sound Area. I. White-Spored Genera: Auriscalpium, Hericium, Dentinum and Phellodon. Mycologia 63(6): 1099-1128.
Harrison, K.A. (1973). The Genus Hericium in North America. Michigan Botanist 12: 177-194.