Hydnellum peckii

A couple items of note for local readers before getting to today’s entry written by Taisha. First of all, the Botanical Garden is helping to conduct a cross-cultural comparison study of eye movement in response to different gardenscapes. If you are interested (and between the ages of 20 and 49), you can read more about the study and its participant criteria here: Eye Movement Study. Also, this Saturday is the day of the Treasured Bulb Sale at the Garden, and it looks like the weather will be cooperating. Free entry to the Garden, too, if you arrive in costume.

Taisha’s notes on my favourite fungus:

Today’s photograph is of Hydnellum peckii, also known as strawberries and cream, bleeding hydnellum or bleeding tooth fungus. This photo was taken by Anne Elliot (aka annkelliott@Flickr), a frequent contributor to the UBC Botanical Garden Flickr Pool. Thank you Anne!

Hydnellum peckii, of the Bankeraceae, is a species of fungus that is widely distributed in North America. The aboveground growth is typically observed in the late summer or autumn, either growing in clusters or occurring singly. This species forms an ectomycorrhizal relationship with several different species of conifers.

The caps are often pinkish, but can be white to brown to black, as the colour and texture vary depending on age and the environmental conditions. In moist weather, bright red droplets often appear atop the cap, making this mushroom easy to identify. Characteristic to this genus, the spores are produced on pendant tooth-like projections called spines. The spores are brown, round to nearly round, and are prominently warted. The solid or woody stalk is cylindrical and is generally tapered toward the base (see: Arora, D. 1986. Mushrooms Demystified. Berkeley California: Ten Speed Press).

This mushroom is considered inedible, at least partly due to its burning-acrid taste and tough corky texture. For more photographs, visit Mykoweb: Hydnellum peckii.

Hydnellum peckii

8 responses to “Hydnellum peckii”

  1. Bonnie

    My first thoughts were Cute! Gross! I guess that’s a pretty standard reaction, judging by its names!

  2. Elizabeth Revell

    Marshmallow and jelly? Although possibly not if the base is brown or black … Then it would have to be chocolate and jelly or licorice and jelly … Hmmm. Looks like a job for Heston Blumenthal!

  3. Michelle de Villiers

    It does look like strawberry jam and cream! Would this one I came across in the UK be at all related? (http://michdevilish.tumblr.com/post/61075997426/fungus-blenheim-gardens)

  4. Brian

    About the eye study, when I was travelling about, I worked in Tel Aviv, and noticed that when I was speaking to an Israeli, the eyes would track mine. When I spoke, their eyes would sweep from left to right and my eyes would sweep from right to left. I was told it was a natural occurrence because they read their (books etc.) material from left to right. Same goes (partially) in countries such as China, Japan and Vietnam, where they read from bottom up left to right.

  5. Bob Wilson

    Looks delicious! It’s probably not as sweet as it looks but it appears that it has strawberry jelly dribbled across the top.

  6. Andy MacKinnon

    Hydnellum peckii (and related H. aurantiacum) are the fungi attached to the roots of gnome plant (Hemitomes congestum), a vascular plant that lacks chlorophyll. These fungi are also attached to the roots of nearby conifers, and move sugars (photosynthates) from the conifer to the gnome plant. Anywhere you find the mycoheterotroph gnome plant you can also expect to find, in appropriate season, the fabulous fungus ‘strawberries and cream’.

  7. Cheryl Henley

    What is the red liquid?
    That’s a crazy looking fungus!
    Thanks for the wonderful site.

  8. karen

    Even if you hadn’t told me it was inedible, I’d have steered clear. I don’t even want to step on that…let alone eat it!!!!
    eek!

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