I was amazed to find two fine specimens of toothed mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus & Climacodon septentrionalis) after nearly 3 months of draught here in southern Indiana. I always supposed the shrooms pretty much needed rain to form, but that is just not the case. Talking to Jim Biddle, a local shiitake grower, I found that some Japanese growers hit their logs with sticks to induce fruiting, and that he has seen fallen logs fruit with out any soaking. So water is not the only factor which governs fruiting.
The first was a specimen of the eminently edible lion’s mane, Hericium erinaceus. It has been growing for the past two years on the soft maple tree next door to us, right in Bloomington. But for some reason it fruited twice during the drought. The first flush came on very large, and I was amazed to find that someone else came and harvested it before I could get to it. I thought I was one of the few in the neighborhood who would know what it was. I was wrong. I harvested the second flush in early October, and it was delicious. I breaded and fried the steaks, ate them for two days after, it made 3 good meals.
My second draught tolerant mushroom was found in the Brummett’s Creek valley, about halfway up the side of the ridge. It was growing between the legs/roots of a beech tree overlooking a steep drop from the ridge. I am thinking it is Climacodon septentrionalis, northern tooth fungus, if anyone else has a different idea, let me know.