Dark Light
Lion’s Mane
Hericium erinaceus

This mushroom was actually growing on the trunk of a tree above my head-height when I spotted it. Unfortunately I didn’t grab a photo of it before I got it home. I haven’t found a Lion’s Mane since – and it’s been many years!

Both the Latin genus name Hericium and the species name erinaceus mean “hedgehog” in Latin which I think is the cutest thing ever and I did NOT know that until I wrote this post! It totally is like a little hedgehog.

You’ll typically find these on hardwood trees, such as beech and maples, during late summer and early fall. It’s considered saprophytic, as it usually feeds on dead trees, however, it can also be found on living trees (like the one I found), so may be a tree¬†parasite.

This kind of mushroom has been cultivated and used for centuries in Asia for various medicinal purposes. Currently there have been many studies in animals and in vitro about the extracts of the mushroom providing a host of beneficial medical uses, however there is yet not enough evidence to support their use for actual treatment of or prevention of health conditions in humans.

Alternate Names: Mountain-priest mushroom, Bearded Tooth Fungus, Bearded Hedgehog
Size: 5-40 cm (2"-15.5" in) in diameter
Family: Hericiaceae 
Habitat: Fruits on decaying hardwood, wood, dung, grassy debris, forest litter.
Identification: Shaggy, white or cream bulbous form typically on hardwood. Sometimes they are in clusters. When older the color can turn yellow-brown. 
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
Related Posts

Witches Butter

Many of these jelly mushrooms are edible, but look at this thing: would you want to eat THIS?

Black Witches Butter

Just another jelly fungus that is totally edible and totally not palatable to me (at least visually!)
Red and pink mushroom

Beautiful Russula

One of many red mushrooms to be found in the woods of Virginia... and one of many in the genus Russula.