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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Hydnellum, Sarcodon and Phellodon of the PNW
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to the Sordid Toothed Fungi.


These medium to large toothed fungi either have a vague cap and stem form or are top shaped like the kids toy (becoming wide on top from a single point of attachment to the ground). The colours are more sordid than the clean orange-white look of the hedgehogs (Hydnum). All are thought to be mycorrhizal. There are also unrelated toothed fungi that look like earpicks, jellies, conks or simply bundles of teeth (Search for "toothed" on the main page).

Sarcodon - large, brown spored, cap and stem - although most species (but not the type) turned out to be inside Hydnellum, and one may need a new genus, for now Neosarcodon. Perhaps a simpler solution would be to move all of these into Hydnellum, the older genus, but a multi-gene study will have to confirm that Neosarcodon can move too, as it is placed on the basis of ITS only.

Hydnellum - large, brown spored, top shaped - but now including many former Sarcodon that are cap and stem shaped. The two forms are mixed in throughout the tree. The forms seem to have evolved back and forth regularly. Rather than recognizing three genera, perhaps we should study if we can recognize one expanded Hydnellum genus, as with Bankera/Phellodon. This genus is poorly studied in the PNW and much work is still to be done to figure out what species are here.

Phellodon - medium sized, white spored, thin top shapes, fragrant maple odor when dried (smaller and thinner than the similar shaped Hyndellums).

Bankera - large, white spored, cap and stem, fragrant maple odor when dried - basically a white spored Sarcodon. While practically all Phellodon/Bankera have a sweet/spicy odor, some Sarcodon/Hynellum do too, so the spore print is the best differentiating factor. Bankera lives paraphyletic inside Phellodon, so most people considered these part of Phellodon now.

Note that the traditional families of the Thelephorales do not hold up, as many genera currently placed in the Theleophoraceae are closer to the Bankeraceae. There seem to be two major clades in a 4 gene study, with Thelephora and Tomentella in the Thelephoraceae, and everything else found in the PNW in an expanded Bankeraceae.

abundant common uncommon rare - colour codes match my Pictorial Key and are my opinions and probably reflect my bias of living in W WA. Rare species may be locally common in certain places at certain times.

Hydnellum s.l. - click to expand

Large, brown spored mushrooms, either top shaped or vaguely cap and stem shaped.

Phellodon (Bankera) - click to expand

Phellodon - small to medium sized, white spored mushrooms (so expect the spines to stay paler in age then in Hydnellum/Sarcodon), somewhat top shaped and thin fleshed, like diminutive Hydnellums, that dry to have a strong curry odor.

Bankera (now inside Phellodon) - large and vaguely cap and stem shaped like Sarcodon (with the same white spores and strong curry odor, especially when dried, as Phellodon). Bankera is paraphyletic inside Phellodon and they have been moved to Phellodon for those who don't accept such situations (like how Leucocoprinus is inside Leucoagaricus). This is another example showing how the top shape and the cap and stem shape evolved regularly back and forth inside this family.


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