Comb Tooth Fungus

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Comb Tooth Fungi, Vancouver Island, BC
Comb Tooth Fungi, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

The comb tooth fungus or as it is commonly called, coral hedgehog, is a large and mostly white fungus with numerous toothed branches. Comb Tooth Fungus can grow up to 40 cm wide and can reach heights of 20 cm high. The branches are toothy structures found on both sides of the branch. These toothy growths are about 1 cm in length.

This fungi fruits on dead hardwood or on living trees that have been injured and it has been found documented on conifers as well, although this is not very common. most times you will find just one, but look around as sometimes they do grow in clusters. Comb tooth fungus tends to grow quite regularly on a tree for about 5 years.

Look for them from late summer to early fall. They are widely distributed throughout North America and Europe. This fungus also grows in many other parts of the world.

They are edible when young as long as it is white. To harvest this fungus, just cut off quite close to the wood, be careful though as it is quite fragile. It is a house for many insects so thoroughly clean by shaking and hand removal of beetles if needed. Only harvest pure white ones, if it has begun to yellow, it’s going to taste sour.

Some say this fungus has a very pleasant nutty flavor, but it has slightly mushroomy flavor, but there is also a hint of a shellfish flavor and it even has the texture crab meat. Some people will make comb tooth cakes that taste remarkable like crab cakes. To me, they are sweet, mild, and delicious. To think you can use these as substitutes for crab, clams or fish dishes is pretty cool.

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