The Cat’s Tongue Mushroom
When the woods seem to be mostly empty of our more sought after edibles, it’s time to take note of other, more unusual forest mushrooms. One of those is Pseudohydnum gelatinosum. As the species name implies, it is a very gelatinous looking and feeling mushroom. These belong to a group we commonly refer to as Jelly Fungus. Not many of us that are new to the mushrooming experience pay much attention to these little guys and unfortunately, they are mostly relegated to the back pages of most mushroom books. However, I believe they deserve a little more respect and consideration for their uniqueness and splendor. In the Great Northwest, you will find these fruiting from fall through spring on small conifer sticks or the woody debris of conifers.
The most commonly found color of this peculiar mushroom is a somewhat translucent shade of off-white although more grayish to brownish looking versions also exist. Their shape is often oval or roundish but can also become somewhat irregular as in the photo above. The cap can be well over an inch in size and they can occur in good sized clusters. You’ll note that the stem is offset to one side of the cap and is quite solid.
The underside of the cap is made up of many spines much like that of the hedgehog mushrooms in the genus Hydnum. The shape and spines of this fungus have given it the common name of Cat’s Tongue. Like a number of other Jelly Fungus, this one is also edible and can be eaten raw, although I have never attempted to eat one. They are odorless and also considered quite tasteless. I was once told that if you dip them in cream and sugar they taste just like cream and sugar. I did, however, find a website with a recipe to candy them into homemade Gummy Mushies.
It may be worth a try and you might just start a new fad. Just leave enough in the forest for the rest of us to admire.