Northern Tooth

Photo by Bill Reynolds

Photo by Bill Reynolds

Northern Tooth (Climacodon septentrionalis) is a widespread and fairly common tooth fungus. The fruiting body is annual and often massive, up to 20″ tall and 10″ wide. It consists of tight, overlapping layers of shelf-like caps joined at the base by a whitish plate. It lives high on the trunks if living hardwood trees, especially sugar maple. It enters the tree through a wound and causes heartwood rot. It is sometimes found on recently dead trees and stumps but is rarely found on fallen logs.

Northern Tooth is not poisonous but is not edible due to a bitter taste and a tough texture. It has a sour smell when it is fresh, an unpleasant, rancid odor as it dries.

Northern Tooth (Climacodon septentrionalis)

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