Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Many Wonders of the Sunol Valley Wilderness

The Sunol Valley wild areas hold many wonders and this week the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project environmental team happened upon this amazing Bearded Tooth Mushroom.

For sure this incredible mushroom looks nothing like any other mushroom you’ve seen, even if you’ve seen more than a few.

Its scientific name is Hericium erinaceus but we think it holds the faintest resemblance to the beard of a famous man that will shortly be making his appearance in the Valley around the 25th of December.

Bearded Tooth mushroom has many names:  Hedgehog mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Lion’s Mane, Pom Pom and Bearded Tooth Fungus.  Which one do you think fits it best?

This eminently edible mushroom grows on both living and dead trees (usually hardwoods) and when cooked is said to have a seafood-like color and texture.

Turns out they aren’t just tasty, it seems they’re good for you too!

Used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicines, these mushrooms have recently been found to have anti-oxidant properties and can reduce glucose levels in the blood.

Scientists are currently investigating whether mushrooms of the genus Hericium may harbor compounds that can be used to formulate anti-dementia drugs.

No matter what usages are ultimately found, one thing is for sure:  this is one unique looking mushroom.

Happy Holidays!

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