Canad. Journ. Bot. 42: 1208. 1964.
Common Name: bear's head
Fruiting body annual, up to 60 cm tall, and 40 cm wide, a compact branched structure from which hang dense clusters of teeth, the latter typically between 0.5 and 1.0 cm long; color: off-white, cream, pale pinkish to ochraceous; flesh pallid; odor and taste mild.
Spores 5-5.5 x 4-5 µm, nearly round, smooth to finely ornamented, amyloid; spores white in deposit.
Solitary to several on conifer stumps or logs; fruiting from after the start of the fall rains to mid-season.
Edible and good.
Hericium abietis is a spectacular find in our area. The compact branch structure covered with white teeth has been described as looking like a "frozen waterfall." It is unlikely to be confused with any other species except for related Hericiums, two of which occur locally. Hericium erinaeus, found on hardwoods, is similarly colored, but unbranched with longer teeth. Hericium ramosum, another hardwood rotter, is more loosely branched than H. abietis, and has shorter spines which tend to occupy all the branch surfaces, not just clustered on the branch tips. Once having colonized a log, Hericium abietis can be expected to produce fruiting bodies annually for several years.
Hall, D. & Stuntz, D.E. (1971). Pileate Hydnaceae of the Puget Sound Area. I. White-Spored Genera: Auriscalpium, Hericium, Dentinum and Phellodon. Mycologia 63(6): 1099-1128.
Harrison, K.A. (1973). The Genus Hericium in North America. Michigan Botanist 12: 177-194.