Bear’s Head Tooth

(Hericium americanum)

Conservation Status
Bear’s Head Tooth
Photo by Lisa Kovacs
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Bear’s Head Tooth is a fairly common and widespread edible fungus. It occurs in the United States east of the Great Plains, in southern Canada, and in Central America. In the United States it is most common in the Northeast and upper Midwest. It is fairly common in eastern Minnesota. Reports of it in the west may be misidentified specimens of Hericium abietis. It is found in woodlands where it gets its nutrients from decaying wood (saprobic), and possibly from living wood (parasitic) when it first appears. It grows alone or in groups on dead hardwood logs and stumps, and on wounds of living hardwoods. It rarely grows on conifers.

When it first appears, the fruiting body is knobby and toothless. At this stage it cannot be distinguished from the two other Hericium species that also occur in Minnesota. The mature fruiting body is a 6 to 12 (15 to 30 cm) in diameter compact cluster of forked, spine-bearing branches. It is white when young, turning yellowish or brownish as it ages. The branches rise from a thick base. At the end of each branch there is a cluster of numerous, densely packed spines that hang downward like icicles. The spines can be 3 16 to 1½ (5 to 40 mm) long, but are mostly more than long. There is often also a row of spines hanging from the underside of the branch like the teeth of a comb.

The flesh is white and edible when young and still white. It does not discolor when cut.

The spore print is white.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Coral Tooth Fungus (Hericium coralloides) spines are short, no more than long.

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is an unbranched, cushion-shaped mass of closely packed spines. The spines are ¾ to 2 long or longer. It is rare in Minnesota.

 
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Forests and woodlands; hardwoods.

 
     
 
Ecology
 
 

Season

 
 

August through November

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.

 
  9/22/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Fairly common in eastern Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Division Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subdivision Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Russulales  
  Family Hericiaceae (tooth fungi)  
  Genus Hericium  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Bear’s Head Tooth was first described in 1984. Older texts often used the name Hericium coralloides for this species and the name Hericium laciniatum for what is now called Hericium coralloides.

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Bear’s Head Tooth

Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Saprobic

Obtaining nutrients from non-living organic matter, such as decaying plant or animal matter.

       
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Lisa Kovacs
       
  Bear’s Head Tooth    
       
Jill Jacobson
       
  Bear’s Head Tooth    
       
       
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Other Videos
 
  Bear's Head Tooth - Hericium americanum
EdibleWildFood.com
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 19, 2017

Hericiums are easy to identify and they are edible. Always eat a very small amount in the beginning to find out whether your digestive system objects in any way. Just because a fungi is deemed "edible" does not mean some of us may have some reaction to it.

In the video I gave this particular Hericium the wrong name - and I apologise for this. Bear's Head Tooth is what you see in the video which is Hericium americanum. Western Canada and US there is lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus). There is also another edible look-a-like, Comb Tooth Fungus (Hericium coralloides).

These easy-to-identify fungi are highly beneficial to our health in many ways. For more information please check out the following links:

http://www.ediblewildfood.com/blog/2016/10/lions-mane-edible-and-medicinal-fungi/

http://www.ediblewildfood.com/bears-head-tooth.aspx

http://www.ediblewildfood.com/comb-tooth-fungus.aspx

https://latitudes.org/lions-mane-can-tame-anxiety/

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf404463v

   
       
  Lion's Mane / Hericium Americanum Mushroom ~ Hunt, & Identify ~ Minnesota Mushrooms
Twin Cities Adventures
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 8, 2018

lions mane mushroom,

   
       

 

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Visitor Sightings
   

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Lisa Kovacs
9/27/2020

Location: Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Bear’s Head Tooth


Jill Jacobson
9/11/2019

Location: Maplewood State Park

Bear’s Head Tooth


     
     
 
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Created: 9/22/2019

Last Updated:

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