Toothed fungi (Hydnaceae) bear their spores on downward-pointing spines or “teeth” instead of on gills or pores. The true tooth fungi are fleshy to brittle in texture. One of the gelatinous jelly fungi (Tremellales) also has a toothed spore-bearing surface. The genus name of the jelly tooth (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum) refers to its being a “false Hydnaceae” or” false toothed fungus”.
Found throughout North America in dank places with rotting conifer wood, jelly tooth fruits in the fall.
Jelly tooth fungi are tongue-like or spoon-shaped and flexible and rubbery. The upper capsurface is whitish to greyish and can have brown tones. The texture of the upper surface of this small mushroom is finely roughened. White, spore-bearing teeth cover the undersurface. The stalk is continuous with the cap.
Jelly teeth are edible but rather tasteless. If eaten they are usually added to soups and stews or other dishes to add textural interest.
Jelly teeth are also commonly called toothed jelly fungus, cat’s tongue and false hedgehog fungus, among other names. Scientifically jelly teeth are also known as Tremellodon gelatinosum.
These jelly tooth fungi were photographed along Burney Creek near Burney Falls (Shasta County CA).
I like these little fungi that feel like some of the “gummy” toys we had as children or like the artificial worms and invertebrates used by fishermen as bait.