From the Greek word Hudnon meaning 'Truffle'
'Bent back', a reference to how the cap sometimes grows
The Wood Hedgehog, or Hedgehog Mushroom, is one of the more iconic and easy to recognise mushrooms of our woodlands. The robust caps, lovely peach colour and 'spines' rather than gills (hence the name hedgehog) are really rather distinctive, and once you have found one then usually there will be a group of them nearby as they can be quite prolific in the right areas. This is one of the first species that my Grandma taught me how to identify and it is one of my favourite mushrooms to find out in my local woodlands every autumn. In recent years this species has shown some tolerance to dry, warm autumns when other species have suffered.
Late Summer to late Autumn.
Habitat & Distribution
Grows with both coniferous and deciduous trees, however we generally find them growing with Beech (Fagus). Common over much of the UK, Scotland, Wales, the north, south-west and south-east of England are all strongholds for this species, there are much fewer records in central and eastern England, but it is still found there.
Edible, a wonderful edible mushroom which is up there with some of the best, it is commonly sold in markets in Europe. We find it best to get rid of the 'spines' before cooking as they can get everywhere and sometimes stuck in your teeth.
Spore Print Colour
6-9 x 5-7μm, ellipsoidal, smooth.
The Terracotta Hedgehog (Hydnum rufescens) is a smaller less robust mushroom with much larger 'spines' for the size of the mushroom. The 'spines' of the Wood Hedgehog are generally more decurrent where as those of the Terracotta hedgehog are adnexed. The cap of the Terracotta Hedgehog is generally much darker than that of the Wood Hedgehog, and the stipe is much thinner.