Hericium abietis, commonly known as the bear’s head or the western coral hedgehog, is an edible mushroom in the tooth fungus group. It grows on conifer stumps or logs in North America, producing a cream white fruit body up to 10–75 cm (4–30 in) tall and wide. It fruits from after the start of the fall rains to mid-season.
The species was first described as Hydnum abietis by American botanist James Robert Weir in 1931. Weir collected the type specimens in 1916, near the Priest River in Idaho. Kenneth Archibald Harrison transferred it to the genus Hericium in 1964. The mushroom is commonly known as the “bear’s head” or the “western coral hedgehog”.
The fruit body forms a compact, branched mass with long spines hanging down. The branches originate from a single, thick, tough base. The color of the fruit body ranges from white to creamy, light yellowish, to salmon-buff. The hanging spines are usually 0.5–1 cm (0.2–0.4 in) long, although some may be as long as 2.5 cm (1.0 in); they are soft and brittle, and typically grow as clusters at the tips of the branches. Typically, fruit bodies have dimensions in the range of 10 to 75 cm (4 to 30 in) tall and wide, but they have been known to attain massive sizes; one noted specimen was about 100 pounds (45 kg). Via Hericium abietis