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Thought it was lions mane


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Found in Hampton Va growing off the base of a dead almost dead oak or maple tree not sure which one. It was at the base an was definitely growing off the tree and not the ground.  It has a sweet kind of nutty smell with a slight crabness smell it is a very pleasant nice smell. The flesh is pure white and stringy the texture is soft with a firmness to it feels like fresh cooked blue crab meat to a degree. Each cluster seems to have grown separately and will easily separate from each other off the big cluster 








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Hey Dave some of the clusters do look like they were shaggy strands that just fused and grew together. I’ve been checking through my couple of books and scratching my head. Is there any way of telling if it is in the Hericium family.  As far smell and flesh description and we’re it was growing matches one of the Hericium but I know that’s far from an ID. I sure thought from a distance I found lions mane

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Hericium species have subglobose (almost round) spores that are amyloid. To test for amyloidity one needs Melzer's reagent, a chemical mixture that's difficult to obtain because one of the contents is a controlled substance. You would need to get spores to drop or maybe find some with a microscope by mounting material from a spine, and I don't see any spines. If it is Hericium, then it may be a sterile specimen. There's another microscopic trait that also has to do with the spines, presence of gleocystidia.  Do you typically find Hericium in VA this late in the season? Up here in NE PA I generally don't see any once we're into November. 

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This would have been my first find of Hericium an I don’t know anyone around my area that hunts them. Our weather has been a little milder this winter so far and I’m still finding some mushrooms that I had stopped finding around the end of October to mid November the last few years. Was talking to a Park Ranger last week and he had said the same thing about seeing mushrooms that normally were gone by now. What would be the the least requirements of a microscope that would be good enough to use. My son has one from a science kit it’s nothing fancy but might do the trick. If not do you know of anyone I may contact down here in my area? I’m limited on funds so I can’t run out a buy a microscope right now. 

Not sure if this pics will help at all. This is a cluster off of the mushroom. You can see it does look like hair so to say. They’re not big or very long it does resemble the lion’s mane that I’ve seen in the grocery stores around here. The store ones are smaller chunks so I would presume younger. Dave I’m still a rookie at mushrooms so if you don’t mind walking me through where to take microscope samples from on the mushroom in question. This mushroom has been growing there for a while so it’s an older specimen 




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These latest pics show what hay be part(s) of the fertile surface. The next-to-last one shows spines that are somewhat similar to, but also fairly different from, the spines seen on a typical Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane). The last photo looks a bit like Hericium coralloides (Comb Tooth, Coral Tooth) that's been compressed into a single mass. Usually H. coralloides looks like rather thin branches with spines hanging from the branches. 

I've seen photos of cultivated H. erinaceus that have a significantly different appearance than the wild version. You would think that if a cultivated strain "escaped" into the wild it would look like the wild version. But, I don't know? Presumably the genetics are identical for wild/cultivated strains. 

To get any mycological use out of a microscope, the scope needs to have magnification capability of at least 400x. That's a 10x in the eyepiece multiplied by 40x in an objective lens. Scopes with 400x capability generally have three or four objective lenses (if four then the scope also does 1000x). To measure microscopic features of a mushroom you also need a reticle, a measuring device installed into the eyepiece. In the case of the fungus being discussed here, the spores are likely to be formed on the spines seen in the next to last photo/ If you place some spines onto a piece of foil then after maybe 10-30 hours you will see a deposit on the foil. For Hericium --as well as lots of other types-- the deposit will be white. If you wish to examine spores with a microscope then IMO the best thing to do is to collect a spore deposit on a microscope slide (rather than foil). The spores are mounted in a liquid --KOH, distilled H2O, or a stain like Congo red. For white spores I loke to use a stain, because white spores are sometimes very difficult to see when mounted in a clear liquid. For other features, a very small piece of tissue is either obtained by a carefully made "section" (the best way) or is cut off the fruit body and smash-mounted (the easy method). In either approach a "slip" is placed over the sample/mounting liquid.

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Thanks Dave I just want to say I really appreciate what this forum does for novice mushroom hunters like me who don’t know or have anybody that’s a seasoned veteran to help them along the way. So thank you to all on here that make this site possible and the help y’all provide. 

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