Bleeding Tooth Fungus Facts
- Just its distinctive name serves as enough to make the remarkable Bleeding Tooth Fungus stand out in the minds of most people. That’s not it’s only name, though. That’s due to the fact that it’s sometimes known by the alternate term of Devil’s Tooth.
- Among scientific professionals it’s best known by its formal name. That’s the hard to pronounce term of Hydnellum peckii. The American mycologist Howard James Baker accomplished the first formal acknowledgement it as a species, in 1913.
- Not surprisingly, the intriguing work of Nature also remains inedible, to both humans and other animals. The astonishing fungus actually isn’t toxic, though. Its lack of edibility simply stems from what’s been called an extremely bitter taste.
- In fact, that bitterness even persists after the mushroom has been dried. Yet its appearance doubtless remains its main detractor. In addition to its sheer appearance, it remains notable for a somewhat different physical structure.
- Despite its generally repugnant appearance, the Bleeding Tooth Fungus does have its usefulness. It, and also related species, has value to those who extract dyes from mushrooms. In its case, these usually consist of blue, green, and beige.
Bleeding Tooth Fungus Physical Description
Most notably, only the emotional shock, and for some, revulsion, at the appearance of the Bleeding Tooth Fungus qualifies as large. The remarkable mushroom itself actually ranks as an approximately average-sized specimen of its kind.
The body of the incredible fungus typically reaches heights measuring about 4.1 in (10.5 cm). At the top of each specimen, a quite irregular shaped cap forms. This may be as much as 8 in (20 cm) across, but most commonly remains somewhat smaller.
This feature generally begins as a comparatively dark, off-white color. However, as this part of the fungus ages, this changes. That part of the fungus then becomes light brown, with darker blotches. But inside, the flesh itself appears as a light brownish-pink.
One of its most extraordinary features is the viscous liquid young specimens exude when moist. This has a dark red pigment, producing the appearance of actually bleeding. This, therefore, serves as the source of the common name of Bleeding Tooth Fungus.
- Kingdom: Fungi
- Phylum: Ascomycota
- Class: Agaricomycetes
- Order: Thelephorales
- Family: Bankeraceae
- Genus: Hydnellum
- Species: H. peckii
Bleeding Tooth Fungus Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Remarkably, the awesome Bleeding Tooth Fungus evolved as native to an extremely wide distribution. It appears to be most prevalent throughout the United States, in North America, however. There, its largest concentration grows in the Pacific Northwest.
Yet, this remarkable species also appears across a wide swathe of Europe, though in scattered concentrations. But sadly, its numbers in this part of the globe seem to be dwindling in the central sections. Some believe increased pollution to be the culprit.
Wherever it grows, however, the Bleeding Tooth Fungus typically prefers a specific habitat. It develops on the ground, almost exclusively under various types of conifers. This occurs due to the fact that it evolved a close relationship with such trees.
The mushroom also seems to have a distinct preference for either mountainous or sub-alpine habitats. Therein, the unique marvel thrives best among mosses and accumulated piles of pine needles. It also typically develops under the shade of the canopy.