Scientific name: Hericium coralloides (Scop.) Pers.
Derivation of name: Corall- means "coral" in reference to
resemblance of this species to marine coral.
Synonyms: Hericium ramosum (Bull.) Letellier
Common name(s): Comb tooth.
Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic; solitary or in
groups on dead deciduous wood; August through October.
Dimensions: Fruit body up to 35 cm wide; individual spines
averaging about 1 cm in length.
Description: This intricately branched species forms an
irregularly shaped cluster of spreading, whitish branches bearing
spines. The branches originate from a common point. The spines
hang more or less evenly in rows (like a comb) along the
branches. With age, the branches and spines turn yellowish.
Edibility: Edible when young.
Comments: Check the web sites below for a closer look at the
confusing naming situation for this species and for a key to
Hericium species, and for a glimpse at the difficulties in
confidently identifying Hericium species.
More information at MushroomExpert.com:
More information at TomVolkFungi.net:
Figure 1. Several fruit bodies of Hericium coralloides growing
on a hardwood log. Photo © Melissa Emberger.
Figure 2. Hericium coralloides is often highly branched.
Photo © Pam Kaminski.
Figure 3. A beautiful specimen of Hericium coralloides.
Photo © David Work.
Figure 4. Note the even distribution of the spines along the
branches. Photo © Pam Kaminski.
Figure 5. Can't you imagine swimming at a coral reef and
seeing something that looks like this fungus?
Photo © William Roody.