Sarcodon (Hydnum) fuscoindicum collected commercially?

Sigvard Svensson Sigvard.Svensson at
Sat Feb 24 16:24:44 EST 1996

In article <4gjdil$svc at>, spencal at
(Steve Pencall) wrote:

>In article <4gh3tl$sr1 at> shaw at (shaw) writes:
>> Several retail produce stores here in the SF Bay area that often carry
>> wild mushroom have recently been carrying what I believe to be
>> Sarcodon fuscoindicum.    They are being sold as "black hedgehogs".
>> We've collected the same fungus this month in mixed tanoak/fir forests
>> on the north coast of CA (e.g. Salt Point State Park).
>> The stores are selling this mushroom as a choice edible.  I, and


>There is a sucker born every minute.  However, this will become a  
>self-limiting phenomenon.  In all probability, stores will stop carrying  
>this species once they are beseiged by customers who want refunds for this  
>"vile tasting stuff".  As soon as the commercial demand wanes, pickers  
>will pass it by.  Probably the worst effect of this trade is that it will  
>harm the perceptions of other more desirable wild mushrooms among naive  
>consumers (which is probably most wild mushroom buyers) and also among  
>naive produce buyers for stores.

>> Has anyone tried it that does *not* think it is essentially inedible?
>Haven't tried S. fuscoindicum, but I did have the opportunity to try S.  
>imbricatum in Arizona last summer.  I know several people in AZ who claim  
>to like it and collect it avidly, but when I tried  S. imbricatum, I found  
>it insipid with a bitter aftertaste.  Why they collect it at all is all  
>the more amazing when you consider the wide variety of good edibles that  
>abound in the AZ mountains in the summer--Boletus species, chanterelles  
>and Amanita ceasarea to name but a few.
Although not having the same species here in southernmost Sweden, I have
seen some duobtful species for sale on the market-places. These include
e.g. Lepista nebularis (tastes well), which cause severe gastrointestinal
problems with some people (as some friends of mine!) especially if not
sufficiently "cooked", as well as Macrolepiota rachodes which can give
some people allergic symptoms. Asked whether they informed their customer
on how to avoid wouldbe-problems, sellers answered that they did not even
know that, and that they had eaten it for years themselves without
problems. These things have been known for a long time and is also
mentioned in the fieldguides, but nevertheless...

Concerning toothed fungi and especially the edibility of Sarcodon
imbricatum - some years ago I was asked to identify the species involved
in a (not so seriuos) poisoning being treated at the University hospital
here in Lund. They turned out to be a mix of Lactarius deterrimus and
Sarcodon imbricatus. The patients were feeling sick and had vomited and
had diarrhoea. As I had never heard of people being ill of well prepared
L.deterrimus, I concluded that it was Sarcodon imbricatus that was
responsible either by itself, beeing mixed with "Lactarius-compunds" or by
way of the persons being very sensitive to one or both of these species.
So asked for the edibility of toothed fungi my answer is: Hydnums (in the
narrow sence that is; H. repandum and H. rufescens here in north Europe). 

But Sarcodon imbricatum can be used for dyeing though, gives nice blue
coulors with the right treatment...


Sigvard Svensson (IT-Adviser, Mycologist, SDA)
E-mail: Sigvard.Svensson at
Tel: 046-222 40 61 (Int.:+46 46 222 40 61)
Fax: 046-222 42 34 (Int.:+46 46 222 42 34)

Disclaimer: As Lund University pay me for working only, there is no reason to assume that my opinions are those of my employer.

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