Hedgehog fungus - Hydnum repandum


Foraging and identification of Hedgehog fungus (Hydnum repandum)

Edible mushroom - novice Season - Autumn to early winter Common names Hedgehog fungus, hedgehog mushroom, wood hedgehog, pale hedgehog, sheep's foot mushroom, pied de mouton, sweet tooth


Scientific name meaning: Hydnum is from the Greek Hydnon, meaning truffle. Repandum is of Latin origin, from Repandus, meaning bent backwards or upturned

Habitat

Forms mycorrhizal relationships with various trees. It is found in mixed, deciduous and coniferous woodland.

Overall structure

Often rather an irregular structure. It produces cap and stem mushrooms that are said to resemble the foot of a sheep. It is often found growing in tightly irregular lines, or seams.

Cap

Reaching between 5 and 15cm in diameter, the caps are pale cream to peachy cream in colour. It is often upturned, with a wavy, irregular edge. The texture of is velvet-like.

Spines and spores

Rather than gills, this mushroom has spines. They are a few millimetres long, cream to pale peach in colour, densely packed and run decurrently down the stem.

The spore print is white.

Stem

Up to 3cm thick and white in colour, the stem is roughly cylindrical. It has solid flesh.

Flesh and smell

The flesh is white and firm, and the aroma is mild and pleasant.

Possible lookalikes

Most likely to be confused with the smaller and far more orange terracotta hedgehog (pictured), which is also edible.

There are other mushrooms with spines, some of which are rare or inedible, but those have brown or dark coloured spines.


Use as a food Hegdehog fungus retains its firm texture when cooked and has an nutty and slightly spicy flavour. It works well in most mushroom dishes and is excellent as a standalone mushroom or feature ingredient. The spines don't have a pleasant texture and it is best to remove these with the blunt side of knife blade. Do this in the woods where they are found to allow the spores to distribute. ​ Hazards None known at time of writing.


Use in herbal medicine and medicine Some studies indicate potential antibiotic and anti-tumour potential. Possibly has some effect on methicillin (antibiotic) resistant bacteria. If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner Other uses A 2021 study showed extracts from Hedgehog fungus had high amounts of activity as an antibiofilm. ​ Importance to other species An important food source for gastropods.


Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!