Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hericium americanum

I found this specimen during my last trip to the White Mountains in NH.  This species has several common names including the pom-pom mushroom, lion's mane mushroom, bear's head mushroom, monkey head mushroom and icicle mushroom.  Perhaps many more.  This is a great refresher on why we need binomial scientific names.

Apparently this species and the rest of its genus are edible and commonly eaten in Asia, especially China and Japan.  As with any mushroom you need to be 100% certain you are collecting the correct species.  With many species of fungus there are species that look similar or almost identical that are toxic.  Recipes suggest this mushroom as a replacement for rice in soups but that it is best fresh.  It seems it is very easily cultivated, however.  

Generally grows on decomposing logs, as pictured above.


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