Coral Tooth Fungus

(Hericium coralloides)

Conservation Status
Coral Tooth Fungus
Photo by Margot Avey
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


There are sixteen species of Hericium, four of which occur in North America, three in Minnesota. Coral Tooth Fungus (Hericium coralloides) is by far the most common of the three. It is fairly common in northeastern United States and in Minnesota. It is found in late summer and fall in deciduous woodlands and forests. It obtains its nutrients from dead wood (saprobic). It grows alone or in small groups on fallen logs, branches, and dead stumps of hardwoods.

When young, the fruiting body is knobby and toothless, and it cannot be distinguished from other Hericium species. When mature, it is a loose, openly branched, irregularly-shaped, 3 to 13 ¾ wide, 2 to 6¾ high cluster of delicate branches rising from a tough, repeatedly branched base. It is white when fresh, becoming creamy-white to buff or yellowish-tan with age. The branches are themselves again intricately branched and have rows of evenly-spaced spines, like the teeth of a comb.

The spines are the spore-producing structures of this fungus, corresponding to the gills on many mushrooms (Agaricales). They are to long and hang downward. Sometimes a small tuft of spines at the tip of a branch may have spines up to 1 long.

The flesh is white. It is edible when young and soft, but the spines become brittle with age.

The spore print is white.


Similar Species


Bear’s Head Tooth (Hericium americanum) is a tight cluster of many branches with tufts, not rows, of 3 16 to 1¼ long spines. It is uncommon in Minnesota.

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is an unbranched, cushion-shaped mass of closely packed spines. The spines are ¾ to 2 long or longer. It is rare in Minnesota.

Habitat and Hosts

Deciduous forests and woodlands. Dead fallen logs and stumps of hardwoods




Late summer and fall


Distribution Map



4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.




Widespread; fairly common in Minnesota

  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Division Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subdivision Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Russulales  
  Family Hericiaceae (tooth fungi)  
  Genus Hericium  

Coral Tooth Fungus was formerly classified as Hericium laciniatum, then Hericium ramosum. Older texts that used the latter name for this species used the name Hericium coralloides for what is now called Hericium americanum.




Common Names


Coral Tooth Fungus

Coral Tooth

Coral Tooth Fungus











A term often used for saprotrophic fungi. Referring to fungi that obtain their nutrients from decayed organic matter.

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Carrie Olson

    Coral Tooth Fungus   Coral Tooth Fungus  

Jill Jacobson

    Coral Tooth Fungus   Coral Tooth Fungus  

Margot Avey

    Coral Tooth Fungus      








Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Foraging for Hericium Coralloides "Comb Tooth mushroom"
330 MaNiaC

Published on Oct 9, 2016

Join me as I forage for Hericium Coralloides also known as Comb Tooth mushroom here in north central MN. Late september is the perfect time of year to look for these delicious choice edible mushrooms. They mainly grow on downed or dying maple trees.

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  The Comb Tooth Mushroom
Gary Cremese

Published on Sep 15, 2012

I found this rare mushroom while walking the west branch of the Farmington River in Peoples State Forest northwestern Connecticut. I show how to harvest and prepare this mushroom for pickling. I also provide insight to the potential dangers of eating wild mushrooms, along with a detailed account of the medicinal properties of the Comb Tooth Mushroom, the latin name; Hericium Coralloides.

  Hericium coralloides mushroom hunting
Scott Button

Published on Sep 25, 2015

Hericium coralloides, mushroom hunting

  Comb Tooth Mushroom - Magic Fungi

Published on Jan 4, 2014

The Comb Tooth Mushroom (Hericium coralloides) - A Magic Mushroom if ever there was one - and closely related to the Bear's Head Tooth Mushroom see:

I came upon both of these large specimens on a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains last August and I am now a dedicated mushroom watcher - I had never seen such amazing mushrooms. Who knew they could be so fascinating. These are arguably the most stunning fungi one is likely to encounter and they are both highly prized for recipes and medicinal properties. It is said this mushroom tastes like Lobster and is good used in a Chowder! It is also one of the least likely group of mushrooms to be mistakenly identified as they are so unique. The Bear's Head Tooth Mushroom has larger "teeth" that are more like stalactites hanging from a cave roof while the Comb Tooth Mushroom has much smaller "teeth" and looks more like a piece of brain coral. These specimen were at or near peak condition and of course I left it for others to enjoy!

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  Harvesting & Dehydrating the Comb Tooth Mushroom
Chris & Kathy

Published on Sep 5, 2016

Harvesting the Comb Tooth mushroom




Visitor Sightings

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  Carrie Olson

Location: Park Rapids

Coral Tooth Fungus  
  Jill Jacobson

Location: Becker County

Coral Tooth Fungus  
  Margot Avey

Location: Tettegouche State Park, northern Minnesota

Coral Tooth Fungus  






Created: 9/22/2017

Last Updated:

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