By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Those of us with a fascination for the odd and unusual will love bleeding tooth fungus (Hydnellum peckii). What is bleeding tooth fungus? It is a mycorrhiza with serrated basal spines and oozing, blood-like secretions topside. A mushroom with a flair for the dramatic that is native to the Pacific Northwest.
What is Bleeding Tooth Fungus?
Picture a pale flesh dotted with deep pores seeping thick red fluid. Then turn the thing over and the base is studded with small, but nasty looking spines. Meet bleeding tooth fungus. Bleeding tooth fungus mushrooms are so called because they are a “tooth” fungus and the mushroom oozes a thick substance that looks like blood. In spite of the appearance, the fungus is not dangerous and, in fact, may have a host of health benefits.
Bleeding tooth fungus mushrooms are innocuous when mature. They develop into rather bland brown fungi with unremarkable characteristics. It’s the young ones you have to watch for. They are also often called devil’s tooth but another, more benign, name for the fungus is strawberries and cream.
Additional Bleeding Tooth Fungus Information
They are mycorrhizae, which means they have a symbiotic relationship with vascular plants. In such cases, the fungus gets carbon dioxide from the host and the host in return gets better nutrient absorption as the mushroom converts amino acids and minerals into useable forms.
Bleeding tooth fungus mushrooms are filled with mycelia, which spread throughout the forest floor. The bleeding aspect is thought to be a type of sap, which is forced out through the mushroom by excess absorption of water.
With such an unusual and rather creepy appearance, is a bleeding tooth fungus safe? Apparently, the mushroom isn’t poisonous but does have a rather unpalatable and bitter taste. The fungi are found in forested regions, not only in North America but also Iran, South Korea, and Europe.
It hides amongst the mosses and needles characteristic of a shady conifer forest. In some regions the fungus is disappearing, apparently due to excess nitrogen found in soil due to pollution. The fungus has an interesting growth form, in that it is amorphous. This characteristic can find it growing around other organic items such as dropped branches and eventually engulfing the object.
What to Do with Bleeding Tooth Fungus
This mushroom is one of many fungi undergoing trials and studies for its possible medical benefits. One of the main uses for the fungus is as a dried specimen. Dried fungi are made into beige dye for textiles and cordage. When combined with certain other substances, such as alum or iron, the fungi tones change to hues tinged with blue or green.
In the medical realm, the fungus is known to contain atromentin, which is similar to heparin, a widely known and used anticoagulant. Atromentin may also have anti-bacterial properties. Thelephoric acid is another chemical contained in the mushroom, which may have uses in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. So don’t let the creepy nature of the young fungus scare you away. Bleeding tooth fungus may be the answer to some of our scarier medical riddles.
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Read more about Fungus & Lichen
11 Colorful Fungi That Look Like They Came From Willy Wonka
The fungi kingdom has an amazing diversity. Some species of fungi are responsible for the creation of life-saving drugs such as penicillin and other antibiotics. Others are responsible for making dishes such as risotto or chicken Marsala more tasty — and healthy, too. (Mushrooms have a host of surprising health benefits). Still other species are to blame for causing infections such as athlete's foot or ringworm.
Visually, too, there's a tremendous assortment of shapes, sizes and colors, especially when it comes to the most famous fungus — mushrooms.
These 11 mushrooms and other fungi below are a far cry from the typical white-or-brown palette of criminis and portobellos.
10 Dead Man’s Fingers
Many fungi live unseen beneath the soil for most of the year. The only time you see them is when they poke up their spore-producing structures. Mushrooms are just the way that fungi spread their descendants. Not all fungi produce mushrooms, however.
Xylaria polymorpha, commonly known as dead man’s fingers, sends up branches of gnarled-looking black structures. Their common name is apt because they look as if they could well be the fingers of some dead man trying to scratch his way out of the earth. The black surface is the spore-producing part of the fungus, which lives on the decaying matter of plants beneath the surface.
9 Devil’s Tooth
Hydnellum peckii goes by many common names: bleeding-tooth fungus, strawberries and cream, red-juice tooth, and Devil’s tooth. All refer to the shocking appearance of the fungus. From the top of the cap, a vivid red fluid is exuded.
The fungus lives with pine trees, attached to their roots, and helps them to gain nutrients from the soil. This is a common strategy, and many plants exist in a symbiotic relationship with fungi. The fine strands of the fungi can penetrate more efficiently into the soil than roots. The plants provide the fungi with sugars, and the fungi offer mineral nutrients in return.
No one is certain why the fungus produces the bloodlike substance. Analysis of the fluid has found that it contains atromentin, a chemical with anticoagulant properties. So the bleeding-tooth fungus could be effective in making you bleed.
- Kingdom …….Fungi
- Class …………..Agaricomycetes
- Family …………Bankeraceae
- Species ……….Hydnellum peckii
Bleeding Tooth Mushroom (Hydnellum peckii) commonly referred to by various names such as devil tooth mushroom, bleeding tooth mushroom, strawberry mushroom, bleeding mushroom, devil’s tooth mushroom. As Mantarator.com we will talk about this mushroom as bleeding tooth mushroom. Bleeding tooth mushroom has a beige and fairly dull appearance when matured. The colour of the young bleeding tooth mushrooms is whitish and their pores produce a dirty blood-like liquid. Bleeding tooth mushrooms are grown in forests where coniferous trees are dense, in mountainous areas and near mosses. It is known that this mushroom grew in Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and North America. Bleeding Tooth Mushroom (Hydnellum peckii ) are not able to be eaten because of their extremely bitter taste. Colour pigments of bleeding tooth mushrooms are used for dyeing fabrics. This mushroom medically contains antibacterial components.
The forests where the bleeding tooth mushroom is dense are defined by scientists as rich and uncontaminated forests. The reason is that bleeding tooth mushrooms produce enzymes needed to help trees benefit more from amino acids and minerals in nature, and help the ecological balance. The reason why these fungi are rarely seen in Europe in recent days is the intense effect of air and environmental pollution on the European forests.
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This page is for brief information about the Bleeding Tooth Mushroom (Hydnellum peckii). It does not provide information on how to grow it. You can see Bleeding Tooth Mushroom page in Turkish language on Kanayan Diş Mantarı page and in Russian language on гиднеллум пека page. You can also see the list of Bleeding Tooth Mushroom growers on our mushroom growers page. You can also find more photos of the Bleeding Tooth Mushroom (Hydnellum peckii) on our Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram pages. If there is any suggestion, change or opinion regarding the translation of this page, please contact us. Thank you for your understanding.
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