The Wood Hedgehog, Hydnum repandum
The Wood Hedgehog has to be one of the best, most delicious edible mushrooms out there. Arthur loves them and always looks forward to the onset of Autumn so we can go out and gather them. Perfect for beginners, this pale, chunky and flavoursome mushroom is so easy to identify due to the tiny spines on the underside of the cap, which give it it's common name. There are no other pale, firm, chunky mushrooms with spines instead of gills, so it's very difficult indeed to confuse it with anything else. Another common edible in the same family is the Terracotta Hedgehog, which has a similar form, but is smaller and more red in colour.
Found in both deciduous and coniferous woods, this mushroom often crops in small troops or rings from September onward and has a sheepsfoot shaped cap - although their tendency to push out of the ground very close together means they are often irregularly shaped. They are quite thick and brittle, but are absolutely delicious when fried in butter, or used in any mushroom recipe, such as pasta or risotto. Some people remove the spines before cooking too, particularly with older specimens, which have a tendency to be a little bitter, although we don't always do this.
Definitely one for your basket!
Wood Hedgehog Checklist
🌳 Deciduous Woodland
🌲 Coniferous Woodland
🍂❄️ Between September and November
📈 Grows singly, in small clusters, and sometimes rings.
🍄 Sheepsfoot-shaped and irregular, 5-10 cm wide, orange, yellow or tan coloured.
⚛️ No gills. This mushroom has tiny off-white or peachy spines on the underside of the cap.
♊️ Short, stout, and bulbous at the base. 3-10 cm long and 1-3 cm thick.
⚪️ The flesh is thick, white, firm and brittle.
🟨🟧 Bruises yellow to orange-brown when cut.
Aroma / Taste
👃 Smells rather nutty.
👅 Sweet, nutty taste and a crunchy texture.
😋 A choice edible mushroom.
🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
👀 The pale, sheepsfoot-shaped fruiting body and tiny little spines are key identifiers of this mushroom.
🤚 The spines are very delicate and break away from the cap easily when brushed with your finger or thumb.
🍄 Fungi - Used in mushroom recipes.