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The Creepy 'Bleeding Tooth' Mushroom Earns its Name

Hydnellum peckii is an inedible (though not toxic) fungus, and a member of the genus Hydnellum of the family Bankeraceae. It is a hydnoid species, producing sporeson the surface of vertical spines or tooth-like projections that hang from the undersurface of the fruit bodies. It is found in North America, Europe, and was recently discovered in Iran (2008) and Korea (2010). Hydnellum peckii is a mycorrhizal species, and forms mutually beneficial relationships with a variety of coniferous trees, growing on the ground singly, scattered, or in fused masses.

The fruit bodies typically have a funnel-shaped cap with a white edge, although the shape can be highly variable. Young, moist fruit bodies can "bleed" a bright red fluid that contains a pigment known to have anticoagulant properties similar to heparin. The unusual appearance of the young fruit bodies has earned the species several descriptive common names, including strawberries and cream, the bleeding Hydnellum, the bleeding tooth fungus, the red-juice tooth, and theDevil's tooth. Although Hydnellum peckii fruit bodies are readily identifiable when young, they become brown and nondescript when they age.

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