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Terracotta Hedgehog - Hydnum rufescens

Foraging and identification of Terracotta hedgehog fungus (Hydnum rufescens)

Edible mushroom - novice Season - Autumn to early winter Common names Terracotta Hedgehog, Terracotta Hedgehog Fungus, Terracotta Hedgehog Mushroom, Reddening Hedgehog Mushroom, Rufous Hedgehog

Scientific name meaning: Hydnum is from the Greek Hydnon, meaning truffle. Rufescens originates from the Latin Rufus, meaning reddish


Deciduous woodland where Terracotta Hedgehog fungus (Hydnum rufescens) can be found

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

Overall structure

Terracotta hedgehog fungus (Hydnum rufescens) fruit body

A cap and stem mushroom with a somewhat irregular and untidy general shape.


The cap of Terracotta hedgehog fungus (Hydnum rufescens)

Dirty buff to orange-red in colour, the cap can reach between 2 and 6cm in diameter. It has a wavy, irregular edge. The texture of is velvet-like.

Spines and spores

The spines of Terracotta hedgehog fungus (Hydnum rufescens)

Rather than gills, this mushroom has spines. They are a few millimetres long and pachy-pink in colour. They are densely packed and either adnexed or free or them stem.

The spore print is white.


The stem of Terracotta hedgehog fungus (Hydnum rufescens)

Up to 3cm thick, but often much slimmer. It is pinkish in colour, cylindrical and usually offset to the centre of the cap. It has solid flesh.

Flesh and smell

The flesh is firm, and pinky to peach coloured. The aroma is mild and pleasant.

Possible lookalikes

Hedgehog fungus (Hydnum repandum)

Most likely to be confused with the larger and pale cream hedgehog fungus (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 Terracotta hegdehog 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 antioxidant and anticholinesterase properties If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner Other uses None known 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!


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