Collection location: Eastern San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA [Click for map]
Think it is Hydnellum Peckii but not 100% sure of ID. Can anyone confirm?
Growing on ground where old redwood stump was. There were several 8-12’’ patches. Some were all pink others had the amber to red droplets.
I doing a web search there is also H. ferrugineum that is similar.
I think the other one you are thinking of is H. diabolus. Orson K. Miller Jr.‘s “Mushrooms of North America”, states that an easy way of determining which one of the two it is according to Miller is odour: H. diabolus has a sweet resinous odour while H. peckii is odourless. I don’t know about the peppery taste though.
Certainly the one with red droplets looks like it. The other one is probably just a young one. There is another species that is separated based on having a mild flavor (H. peckii is extremely spicy). I don’t remember the second species off the top of my head, but it’s in Fungi of Switzerland Vol 2 if anyone has it handy.