Bleeding Tooth Mushroom

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Bleeding Tooth Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC
Bleeding Tooth Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Robert Logan

The Bleeding Tooth Mushroom can be found in the Pacific Northwest, it resides mostly in coniferous forests. The Bleeding Tooth can also be found in Europe and a few other areas in the far east.

When you first see the bleeding tooth, you will be amazed at the red color, looks so much like blood, but look more closely and it becomes obvious that the fungus is producing the red fluids through its own small pores. On most specimens, you will see that it does resemble blood, but the color can also be light pink, yellow, orange or beige in color. Some say it even resembles candy. Though not uncommon in our part of the world, most people upon seeing it for the first time are completely perplexed by this mushroom. It is non-edible but quite fascinating to observe in the wild.

Bleeding Tooth Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC
Bleeding Tooth Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

Scientists have discovered the fungus contains antibiotic properties, effective against streptococcus. The mushroom can also be dried and transformed into a plant-based dye for cloth, producing an earthy beige color or sometimes a blue or green color. The juice itself contains a pigment called atromentin which has been discovered as having anticoagulant properties.

It is usually found to grow in mountainous areas under cedars, pines, hemlocks, redwoods and other types of coniferous trees. Although not all the time, this year I have been finding them right at sea level. This fungus can reproduce both sexually and asexually. In asexual reproduction, the mushroom produces fruit bodies, these fruit bodies disperse the spores through the nearby forest. These spores, in turn, produce mycelium which grows to produce a mushroom and the life cycle of the bleeding tooth fungus continues.

I find these mushrooms to be very interesting, they are quite awesome to see. I am always looking for them when we are hiking in the high country.

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