Bleeding Tooth Fungus Facts
- Just its distinctive name serves as enough to make the remarkable Bleeding Tooth Fungus stand out. Not surprisingly, it also remains inedible. However, the astonishing fungus isn’t actually toxic.
- Furthermore, its inedibility stems from its extremely bitter taste. But no doubt its appearance plays a role in that, as well. In fact, that acridity even persists after the mushroom has been dried.
- Mycologist Howard James Banker first identified it in 1913. Later experts debated its classification. In addition to its sheer appearance, it remains notable for a somewhat different physical structure.
- Finally, despite its generally repugnant appearance, it 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 is large. The remarkable mushroom itself ranks as an average-sized specimen of its kind.
Firstly, the body of the incredible fungus typically reaches heights of about 4.1 in (10.5 cm). At the top, a quite irregular shaped cap forms. This may be as much as 8 in (20 cm) across, but usually stays somewhat smaller.
In addition, this cap generally begins as an off-white color. However, as it ages, this changes. It then becomes light brown, with darker blotches. But inside, the flesh itself appears as a light brownish-pink.
Finally, though, 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.
- 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 has 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, it also appears across a wide swathe of Europe, though in scattered concentrations. But sadly, its numbers there seem to be dwindling in the central sections. Some believe increased pollution to be the culprit.
Wherever it grows, however, it 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.
Further, it seems to have a distinct preference for either mountainous or sub-alpine habitats. Therein, it thrives best among mosses and accumulated piles of pine needles. It also typically develops under the shade of the canopy.