What Are Hedgehog Mushroom (Hydnum repandum)?


Reading Time: 4 minutes

The hedgehog mushroom, also known as the sweet tooth, appear just like any other wild mushroom sprouting from the forest floor. However, if you look on the underside of their golden caps, you’ll find that hedgehog mushrooms have teeth that resemble the quills of their namesake instead of gills.

A few names, including: know this fungus

  • sweet tooth
  • hedgehog fungus
  • wood hedgehog
  • pied de mouton (French for “sheep’s foot”)

This edible fungus is prized in the culinary community for its delicious, nutty flavor and crunchy texture. They are fairly common throughout the forest regions of the northern United States, like

Hedgehog mushrooms are commonly confused with golden chanterelles, with their fruity smell and their yellow or pale orange cap. Still, all a forager has to do is look at the underside of the cap to identify one from the other.

Fast Facts about the Hedgehog Mushroom

  • Similar species include the hydnum repandum, dentinum repandum (Spreading Hedgehog) and the Hydnum rufescens (Terra Cotta Hedgehog).
  • Hedgehog mushrooms grow in “fairy circles” – a naturally occurring ring of mushrooms caused by a spore finding a favorable spot and spreads out an underground network of tubular threads called hyphae. Mushroom caps then flourish along the edges of this network, forming a large ring.
  • Hedgehogs are considered one of the easiest mushrooms to identify due to the unique nature of the cap’s toothed underside.
  • The taste of mature specimens is considered earthy and smoky compared to the chanterelle’s subtle fruit flavor.
  • Hedgehogs can range in diameter from just over a centimeter to several inches across. Hydnum repandum can grow quite large, about the size of a portobello. At the same time, a smaller species – Hydnum umbilicatum (also known as the Depressed Hedgehog) has a cap about the size of a quarter.
  • This fungus is resistant to slugs and insects, making them an ideal edible, as they are unlikely to suffer bug damage like some other mushrooms.
  • Hedgehogs only grow in the wild and cannot be commercially cultivated. However, you can harvest them yourself or find them at your local farmer’s market during the foraging season.
  • Hedgehogs are considered one of the best mushrooms for beginning foragers because of their ease of identification.

How do I Identify the Hedgehog Mushroom?


Mycorrhizal with beech, scotch pine, birch, spruce, western hemlock, and other mixed woods including hardwoods and conifers. They are symbiotic with their partner trees and exchange increased water and nutrients for carbohydrates in the form of simple sugars.


Convex and yellow, pale cream, pale orange, or salmon pink in color. Usually lopsided and asymmetrical, similar to the fruiting bodies of bracket fungi.

There is a central depression in the center of the cap, which can be slightly off center. The flesh breaks easily.


White and firm. Depending on the species, the stem can either be solid or hollow.


Instead of gills, hedgehog mushrooms have teeth on the underside of the caps, which range in color from cream to salmon pink. Also known as spines, these vertically hanging teeth are very short – ranging between 2 and 6 mm in length.


Firm flesh with a crunchy texture. Slightly chewy when cooked. Older specimens aren’t as firm.

Spore print



Forested regions throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Ireland, Europe, Russia, Australia, and East Asia.


The foraging season is in the fall, usually spanning between August and December, though it isn’t uncommon for this fungus to continue growing into the winter.

Warmer climates may experience a later blooming season.

Similar Species

Spreading Hedgehog (Hydnum repandum) – the most common species of hedgehog mushroom

Terra Cotta Hedgehog (Hydnum rufescens) – usually pale orange or salmon pink in color.

Depressed Hedgehog (Hydnum umbilicatum) – named for the deep depression or hole in the center of the cap. The scientific name literally means “belly button.” This species has hollow stems.

Shingled Hedgehog / Hawkwing (sarcodon imbricatus) – common throughout the U.S., has subtle teeth on the underside of the cap and brown, mottled caps that resemble roof shingles.

Giant Hedgehog (Hydnum albomagnum) – the largest species of hedgehog mushroom, the cap can span several inches across, even the diameter of a dinner plate, and one mushroom can weigh as much as a pound.

Hedgehog Mushroom Lookalikes

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

This toothed mushroom is usually pure white in color and has much longer teeth than those on Hydnum repandum. While they also grow on beech trees, they are saprobic and parasitic on hardwood trees. Also edible, Lion’s Mane is used in eastern medicine.

Golden Chanterelles

Often confused with the Hedgehog, this golden mushroom has ridges on the underside of its caps and blooms during the summer. They grow in the same habitat as hedgehogs, and you’ll usually find hedgehogs sprouting up when chanterelles are ending for the season.

Where can I Find Hedgehog Mushrooms?

The hedgehog fungus flourishes in a habitat of mixed woods that include hardwoods and conifers. Depending on your location, they can usually be found between mid-summer to late winter.

Like all wild mushrooms, the hedgehog fungus is sensitive to drought, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see many during particularly dry autumns.

How do I Cook Hedgehog Mushrooms?

Like all wild mushrooms, never eat hedgehog mushrooms raw. Doing so will cause severe gastrointestinal distress, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

A quick rinse with water will help remove dirt and other debris to clean mushrooms. Since this mushroom is naturally resistant to insects, it shouldn’t have much damage.

These fungi don’t need much bring out their natural flavor, and most recipes include garlic and butter. However, you might be surprised at how much moisture one mushroom contains, which you’ll see more of once it is cooked.

The simplest way to cook this edible mushroom is to sauté them in a pan over high heat butter. This will bring out their natural smoky, nutty taste. Add garlic. Salt and pepper are great seasonings that won’t overwhelm the mushroom. Add them to mashed potatoes with parsley and chives for a decadent twist on a classic dish.