The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Lion's mane mushroom

Lions mane mushroom

Lion's mane mushroom has now made it onto my list of delicious and safe fungi to wildcraft (along with morels and oysters).  Despite the fact that there are at least three species in the genus Hericium, all are edible, and the shaggy white mane makes these mushrooms tough to confuse with anything else.  You might want to stick to the scientific name, though, since Lion's mane closeupcommon names are variable and include Bearded Tooth, Hedgehog, Satyr's Beard, Bearded Hedgehog, and Pom Pom, along with Lion's Mane.

How about flavor?  The internet reports that lion's mane mushrooms taste like lobster, but even though I'm not a seafood fan, I thought they were delicious.  Mark (who loves seafood and who reports that only the texture reminded him of lobster) agreed, noting that lion's manes are midway on the delectability scale between oysters and shiitakes.  (Actually, some oyster mushrooms can be as good as shiitakes, but the flavor tends to be less dependable, so Mark rates them lower.)

I'm actually surprised I hadn't stumbled across this distinctive edible before, but I suspect the issue is that I'm a swamp girl and the lion's mane likes harder wood, like oaks, which tend to grow in drier forests around here.

Wednesday, I found two lion's mane mushrooms popping out of a huge, fallen oak that came down in our parking area last summer.  Now I really, really want those delectable, rotting logs for my forest garden.  Too bad they're at least two feet in diameter and each round weighs a ton....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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