Observation 179571: Hydnellum caeruleum (Hornem.) P. Karst.
When: 2014-09-19
No herbarium specimen

Notes: Found growing on ground in beneath the canopy of a conifer forest in the Bighorn Mountains about 30 miles west of the town of Buffalo, Wyoming. What struck me is that the fungi actually had enveloped a living bearberry plant, which was still growing despite being engulfed by this fungi. I had never seen a mushroom envelop a living plant. Next was the unusual color. I had found two (2) other blue mushroom species a week before finding these mushrooms. These had a very light blueish-gray tint to them, with mostly blue rimming the circumference of the edge of their tops. The third unusual feature of these mushrooms was their scent. They have a delightful anise/flowery perfume scent one could make a perfume out of, they smelled that good. The fourth unusual feature was their heaviness. At first I thought they were shelf fungi that one sees growing on trees. But after I unburied them, I realized they did have stems, so they were actual mushrooms. The fifth feature was the texture / feel of the mushrooms. It was fairly hard – not fragile at all, and felt like a shelf fungi’s texture. The sixth feature was that they tenaciously had gripped the soil and surrounding materials on the forest floor. So tenaciously, that it took some effort to dig them up! The sixth feature was the surface beneath the caps of these mushrooms. At first I thought they were old boletes because it appeared spongy. However, with a magnifying glass, I saw that it was not spongy, but had tiny tendrils — little white spines close together. I had never seen a mushroom with these beneath the caps. The seventh feature was the surface of these mushrooms. I thought they were aged as they were uneven/bumpy and appeared to be deteriorating somewhat towards the centers with some discoloration setting in. Upon closer examination, I saw in the photos I took of them that they were actually oozing a clear liquid — there were bubbles on them! Now it had begun to rain lightly, so I didn’t think much about that until I went home and used the magnifying lens and zoomed in on the photos I took of them. The eighth feature that was odd about these mushrooms was that I have had them at home in the refrigerator, loose in a semi-opened ziplock bag for one week now, and they are still very much firm and fresh looking, amazingly. These are apparently very hardy mushrooms built to last!


Surface of mushrooms with one having live plant it surrounded in it
I set them on a log; they were growing on the ground when I found them. This photo is a little fuzzy but it captured the color of them.
Here I zoomed in to show the bubbly edges of the cap. Although the edges looked friable/fragile, they were not so.

Proposed Names

81% (1)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight: After much research determined these were Hydnellum caeruleum (Hornem.) mushrooms. They were growing at high altitude in mountains in a conifer forest on the ground.

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


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Created: 2014-09-19 13:37:32 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2015-03-01 15:47:55 CST (-0500)
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