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Hericiaceae, Hericium erinaceus, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Mushroom – Marin County, California

December 18, 2012

I found this Hericium erinaceus mushroom growing on Mt. Tamalpais yesterday. The bright white popped out from a long distance in the otherwise dark and misty forest. This is a fantastic edible mushroom (all Hericium are)… Click individual photos below to enlarge.

H. erinaceus

This particular species is visually spectacular. Specimens weighing multiple pounds, like this one, are not uncommon. It took me some time to cut it off the log it was protruding from.

H. erinaceus

Here is an upclose image of the icicle-like spines.

H. erinaceus closeup

And below, for scale, the mushroom in my hand. It is a very dense mass, probably weighing 3-4 pounds.

H. erinaceus

Here’s a previous photo I posted of H. erinaceus, a smaller specimen. And here are some photos of other Hericium species I have found in the area, including H. racemosum and H. abietis.

From Wikipedia… This species is widely appreciated for its edible and medicinal properties. It is called hóu tóu gū (“monkey head mushroom”) in Chinese. In Japanese it is called yamabushitake or ;  (“mountain hidden mushroom”). In Vietnamese it is called nấm đầu khỉ. In Korean it is called “노루궁뎅이버섯, “Norugongdengi-beoseot”, literally Deertail Mushroom.

In traditional Chinese medicine the species has long been considered medicinal and that compounds in the mushroom have antioxidant effects and properties that regulate blood lipid levels and reduce blood glucose levels. It has been reported that pills of this mushroom are used in the treatment of gastric ulcers and esophageal carcinoma.

Scientists have investigated this mushroom for possible anti-dementia compounds. Primary research has demonstrated the following:

  • Stimulated animal nerve cells.
  • A double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial showed improved cognitive ability.
  • Stimulated nerve growth factor in an in vitro experiment with human astrocytoma cells. Nerve growth factor stimulated by phenol-analogous Hercenone.
  • Stimulated myelination in an in vitro experiment.
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2012 10:08:03 am

    No matter the benefits I am STILL going to have to become a professor of mycology before Steve will let me eat wild mushrooms 😦

    • December 19, 2012 10:08:21 am

      The book Mushrooms Demystified by David Aurora is a good start to reaching mycololgy professor status. Highly recommended.

      • December 19, 2012 10:08:40 am

        Cheers for that…I will show it to Steve and request it for Christmas! (I still think he won’t let me eat them 😉 )

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