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Hedgehogs

Hydnum umbilicatum

Hydnum umbilicatum

Today I was fortunate to find several Hydnum umbilicatum and Hydnum repandum- the hedgehog mushrooms, sometimes also known as the sweet tooth. In our area, the Hydnum repandum tend to be larger. They have a rounder cap and they tend to be more pale in hue. The Hydnum umbilicatum is flatter, and sometimes has more orange on the cap. It also has a belly-button shape in the top of the cap, hence the “umbilicatum”.  I find both varieties taste the same, both delicious and similar to chanterelles. Of course both varieties of hedgehogs have their signature teeth.

I know one forest that reliably fruits these mushrooms (and a couple other forests in which I occasionally find them). This forest is a “stop on the way” forest for me. It’s a large forest but I normally only find edible mushrooms in one small area of it. It’s on the way to other forests I like, so I stop on the way and spend 15 or 20 minutes poking around. I find a few lobster mushrooms there, and an occasional chanterelle and sometimes a few boletes, but the hedgehogs are the prize of this spot. When they’re fruiting I can sometimes find a dozen or more in just a few minutes.

Hedgehogs are among the easiest edible wild mushrooms to identify but still, if you aren’t 120% sure what you’ve got, don’t eat it. Not even just this once. Remember there are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters. Please be careful.

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