White-legged Hericium

White-legged Hericium (Sarcodon leucopus)


  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Incertae sedis (undefined)
  • Order: Thelephorales
  • Family: Bankeraceae (Banker)
  • Genus: Sarcodon (Sarcodon)
  • Species: Sarcodon leucopus (White-legged Hericium)


  • Hericium smooth

  • Hydnum leucopus
  • Fungus atrospinosus
  • Hydnum occidentale
  • Hydnum colossum

Sarcodon leucopus - White-legged Hericium

White-legged Hericium can grow in large groups, mushrooms often grow very close to each other, so the caps take on a wide variety of shapes. If the mushroom has grown alone, it looks like the most common mushroom with a classic head and leg.


Hat: 8 to 20 centimeters in diameter, often irregular. In young mushrooms it is convex, flat-convex, with a turned-up edge, smooth, finely pubescent, velvety to the touch. The color is light brown, grayish brown, bluish-lilac shades may appear. As it grows, it is convex-outstretched, outstretched, often with a depression in the center, the edge is uneven, wavy, 'torn', sometimes lighter than the entire cap. The central part of the cap in adult mushrooms may crack a little, small pressed scales of a pale purple-brown color are visible. Skin color is brown, reddish-brown, bluish-lilac shades remain.

Hymenophore: spines. Quite large in adult specimens, about 1 mm in diameter and up to 1.5 cm in length. Descending, first white, then brownish, lilac-brownish.

Stem: central or eccentric, up to 4 centimeters in diameter and 4-8 cm in height, seems disproportionately short in relation to the size of the cap. Maybe a little bloated in the center. Solid, dense. White, whitish, darker with age, in the color of the cap or grayish-brownish, darker downward, in the lower part greenish, grayish-greenish spots may appear. Small pubescent, often with small scales, especially in the upper part, where the hymenophore runs down the stalk. A white felt mycelium is often visible at the base.

Sarcodon leucopus - White-legged Hericium

Flesh: firm, white, whitish, can be with a faint brownish-pinkish, brownish-violet, purple-brown tint. On the cut, it slowly acquires a gray, gray-gray color. In older, dried out specimens, it may be greenish-gray (like spots on the leg). The mushroom is rather fleshy both in the stem and in the cap.

Smell: pronounced, strong, spicy, described as 'unpleasant' and reminiscent of the 'Maggi' soup seasoning or bitter amaret, 'stone fruit', persists when dry. Taste: initially indistinguishable, then a slightly bitter to bitter aftertaste, some sources indicate that the taste is very bitter.

Season: August – October.

Ecology: in coniferous forests, on soil and coniferous litter.


No data on toxicity. Obviously, the white-legged herringbone is not eaten because of its bitter taste.

Similar species

White-legged Hericium is similar to other Hericiums with caps in brownish, red-brown tones. But there are a number of significant differences. So, the absence of scales on the cap will make it possible to distinguish it from the variegated Ezhovik and the rough Ezhovik, and the whitish leg – from the Finnish Ezhovik. And it should be borne in mind that only the white-legged barnacle has such a strong specific smell.

Photo: funghiitaliani.it

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Hunting, Fishing and Mushrooms: a magazine for hunters and fishers.
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