Fungi

Bearded tooth

Bearded tooth

The New Forest is a stronghold for Bearded Tooth (Hericium erinaceus), a very special and rare fungus as it is a legally protected species. It is one of three species of this spectacular looking genus and all of them can be found in the New Forest. Hericiums are confined to only a few other sites in the south of England.  

Beech trees, both living and dead, are its favoured host and these are widespread in the New Forest. The tree can be standing upright with the Hericium on the trunk, or sometimes quite high up in the branches or on a fallen decaying trunk. If the fallen trunk happens to be hollow, the fruiting might even appear inside the hollow.

The fruiting body is large, white and visible (up to 20 cm across) and looking like a small waterfall will usually erupt where some damage has been sustained. Although it may look fragile, it is surprisingly robust, but may slowly lose its pristine white colour and become rather brown and dirty looking. However the entire fungus will remain intact for several weeks during the autumn, or until the night frosts begin. 

It comprises a large rounded clump of compact, long, hanging, pointed tipped spines, soft and elastic in texture and all initially bright white. It is usually solitary, although they may form a small group, and will often appear in exactly the same position every year.

Over the years it seems to have acquired a number  of different names - such as Monkey Head, Pom Pom, or Lion's Mane to name but a few!

The New Forest is a very important site for this fungus in Britain, and it is the subject of many ongoing scientific surveys and research.

Bearded tooth

  1. Fungi
  2. Pestle puffball
  3. Crimson waxcap
  4. Nail fungus
  5. Golden spindles
  6. Shaggy inkcap
  7. Stinkhorn
  8. False deathcap
  9. Fly agaric
  10. Chicken of the woods
  11. Wood blewit
  12. Bearded tooth (you are here)
  13. Southern bracket
  14. Honey fungus
  15. Panthercap
  16. Dyers mazegill
  17. Devil’s fingers
  18. Deathcap
  19. Brown birch bolete
  20. Ochre brittlegill

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