Hericium abietis

Hericium abietis

Alias: Western Hedgehog, Bear’s Head, Goat’s Beard, and Conifer Coral Mushroom. This mushroom is a choice edible.


A firm fleshy mushroom with a distinct appearance.  Growing outwards from the side of a tree, it lacks a stem but does have a central base with multiple branches each full of dangling teeth or long spines.  The color ranges from white to yellowish brown at the tips of its spines…reminiscent of a roasted marshmallow. It can be distinguished from H. erinaceus by the branching from the main base, which is lacking in H. erinaceus. Another similar look-alike is H. corraloides which is smaller, prefers hardwoods, and has teeth originating only the underside of the branches.

This particular fungus prefers conifers.  Douglas-fir is shown in the photo.  There are three other species of Hericium that are specific to hardwoods, so if you spot this fruiting body on a conifer, you got yourself H. abietis.  This fungus is typically a saprophyte on downed logs and snags, but can also be pathogenic, infecting compromised hosts and accelerating their death, then living saprobically on the log. A white pocket rot is created by the fungi’s preferential degredation of lignin and hemicellulose.


Distribution:  Northwestern N. America


H. abietis

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