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Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus

Over the past few weeks, I've become fascinated by the different types of mushrooms and fungus growing in the New England forests where I backpack. I'm not interested in eating them or even touching them, but they're a very cool life form tied into forest plant communities and it's worth understanding the role they play.

Here's a cool fungus I found on my last section hike on the Appalachian Trail in southern Vermont near Consultation Peak. It's called a Bear's Head Tooth Fungus and it's scientific name is Hericium coralloides. It has spiky hairs growing from a center mass and survives by helping to break down dead trees, which are it's preferred habitat. The Bear's Head Tooth is supposedly choice eating, tasting like lobster if cooked properly. It's also easily cultivated so there's no monetary benefit to harvesting it in the woods.

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  1. Have you seen the fabulous book by Paul Stamets, Ma Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.

    The author was also a speaker on the TED series recently – won me over on the wonders of fungi!

    This book has great photos.

  2. I think someone else told me about this book too. I'll check it out.

  3. That one is edible.

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