Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cat's tongue mushroom

I found this growing under the pines in the Woodhus Creek woods.

Pseudohydnum gelatinosum, aka jelly tooth, cat's tongue, hedgehog. With globular springtail demonstrating the size.

I'd never seen a mushroom with two heads before, and leafed right past it in my Guide; it was among the polypores and tooth fungi, where I never thought to look. Luckily, I asked a friend, who identified it immediately from a brief description.

The mushroom looked more like jelly from close up. It felt like jelly, too; firm like the finger jelly I used to make for snacks, cool and damp, but not slimy or slippery. The flesh, of both stalk and cap, was translucent and slightly rough. There was no odor that I could detect.

Turns out it's neither a regular "umbrella" mushroom, nor a polypore, nor a tooth fungus, although it does have tiny teeth on the underside of the cap. It is a jelly fungus, like witches' butter or apricot jelly. The Latin name, "Pseudohydnum gelatinosum" means "False jelly truffle".

And it's edible, even raw, though the guide remarks that "it has little or no flavor." Besides, isn't it too beautiful to eat?

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