Conservation Status: Not of concern
When young and bright orange, Hydnellum aurantiacum is easily identified. However, the fruitbodies become increasingly brown with age and harder to tell apart from old specimens of H. caeruleum and other species. Initially the cap has a whitish edge and orange center; at least the uppermost portion of the stipe is orange and the remainder is brown. The spines are whitish to pale orange and do not extend much down the stipe When cut in half, the flesh is deepest orange in the lower portion of the stipe, even in age; usually the flesh of the cap is paler, sometimes almost white. The overall appearance of the mushroom is quite variable and so several varieties have been named; however, there is so much overlap in the characteristics that they appear not to represent distinct entities. H. auratile also has been reported from the PNW; it is smaller, has more uniformly reddish orange flesh in cap and stipe, and has slightly smaller spores (4.5--5.5 x 4--5 vs. 5.5--7 x 4--6 µm). H. aurantiacum is a widespread fungus, occurring throughout much of North America, Europe, and temperate Asia.