Bleeding Tooth Mushroom
Also known as
Bleeding Tooth Fungus, Bleeding Tooth, Strawberries and Cream, Bleeding Hydnellum, Red-Juice Tooth, Devil's Tooth Mushroom, Devil's tooth
Hydnellum peckii2 by Bernypisa (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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Bleeding Tooth Mushroom Overview
Hydnellum peckii is commonly called the bleeding tooth mushroom due to its thick red fluid and tooth-like spines which reside beneath the cap. The cap is a pale pink colour and it comprises fine, dense hairing giving it a velvety texture. Although inedible, it contains the chemical atromentin, which holds antibacterial and anticoagulant properties. Its colourful pigments are also used to dye fabric. The bleeding tooth fungus shares a special relationship with various hardwood trees, something that's more widely known as a mycorrhizal association. The latter is fancy terminology meaning an exchange of biological products between fungi and plants. It can be compared to a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" type-situation. The bleeding tooth mushroom benefits from the fixed carbon it receives from the tree, and in return, it 'lends' its own soil nutrients to the tree. This is just one example of such a relationship, but it's the primary strategy used by numerous plants and fungi. Although sighted in Europe this fungus is an extremely rare find. It's closely associated with moss and pine needle litter in coniferous forests.