– ear-pick fungus, ear-spoon fungus, pinecone mushroom, pinecone tooth
Description: Auriscalpium vulgare is an unmistakable, but usually inconspicuous, fungus. It is small, dark brown, hairy, and the stipe is lateral. Current evidence suggests it is related to the gilled fungus Lentinellus, the coralloid Clavicorona, the poroid Albatrellus, and other relatives of the russulas, including the fellow spine-fungus, Hericium. The species epithet, “vulgare,” means common, and attests to the wide distribution of the fungus in much of North America, Europe, and temperate Asia.
Habitat: Auriscalpium vulgare is found primarily on (often buried) Douglas-fir cones in the PNW. Elsewhere it can often be found on the cones of pine or occasionally spruce.
Substrate: Fallen or buried cones