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Hericium erinaceus

Lion's Mane

Hericium erinaceus is one of the few mushrooms imparting the flavor of lobster when cooked. Producing a mane of cascading white spines, this mushroom can be grown on sterilized sawdust/bran or via the traditional log method first established for Shiitake.

Mycelial Characteristics: Whitish, forming triangular zones of collected rhizomorphs, radiating from the dense center section. (The mycelium can resemble the structure of a glaciated mountain (i.e. Mt. Rainier) as seen from high overhead from an airplane). If the top and bottom of the culture dishes are taped together, evaporation is lessened with an associated pooling of carbon dioxide. This stimulates the mycelium into aerial growth. As cultures age, the mycelia become yellow to distinctly pinkish. Islands of young fruit bodies form in petri dish cultures incubated at 75* F (24* C) in two to three weeks. Such fruit bodies are characterized by elongated, aerial spines ("spider-like"), which in age, change from whitish to yellowish.

Microscopic Features: This mushroom produces white spores.

Suggested Agar Media Culture: Malt Yeast Peptone Agar (MYPA), Potato Dextrose Yeast Agar (PDYA), or Dog Food Agar (DFA).

Spawn Media: For the first generation use Grain, (rye, wheat, milo, wheat, barley, corn, or millet. For second and third generations use grain, sterilized sawdust or plugs.

Substrates for Fruiting: Sterilized sawdust supplemented with rice bran for indoors. Hardwood and Douglas fir logs & stumps are recommended for outdoors. The pH range for fruiting falls between 5.0-6.5.

Yield Potentials: 550 grams fresh weight from 5 lbs. hardwood (alder) sawdust, unenriched. ! lb. clusters are common using the above technique. With multiple sites forming exterior to the bag, maximum yield efficiency approaches 2 lbs.

---Growth Parameters---

Spawn Run:

  • Incubation Temperature: 70-75* F (21-24* C)
  • Relative Humidity: 95-100�
  • Duration: 10-14 days
  • CO2: 5000-40,000 ppm
  • Light Requirements: n/a

Primordia Formation:

  • Initiation Temperature: 50-60* F (10-15.6* C)
  • Relative Humidity: 95-100�
  • Duration: 3-5 days
  • CO2: 500-700 ppm
  • Fresh Air Exchanges: 5-8 per hour
  • Light Requirements: 500-1000 lux

Fruitbody Development:

  • Temperature: 65-75* F (18-24* C)
  • Relative Humidity: (85) 90-95�
  • Duration: 4-5 days
  • CO2: 500-1000 ppm
  • Fresh Air Exchanges: 5-8 per hour
  • Light Requirements: 500-1000 lux

Cropping Cycle:

  • 14 days apart

Comments: This mushroom grows quickly and is acclaimed by most mycophagists. From a marketing point of view, H. erinaceus has distinct advantages and few disadvantages. The snow-ball like forms are appealing. Picked individually and wrapped in rice paper or presented in a see-through container, this mushroom is best sold individually, regardless of weight. A major disadvantage is its high water content and white background which makes bruising quite apparent, although the mushroom may be, as a whole, in fine shape. Once the brown bruises occur, the damaged tissue becomes a site for bacterial blotch, quickly spreading to the other mature parts of the mushroom. In short, this mushroom must be handled ever so carefully by the harvesters. By reducing humidity several hours before harvest to the 60-70�ange, the mushroom loses sufficient water and tends not to bruise so readily. Hericium erinaceus grows aggressively on hardwood sawdust enriched with bran. Incubation proceeds for two weeks, after which primordia occur spontaneously. Since fruitings off vertical faces of the plastic bags are more desirable than top fruitings, it is essential that holes be punched into the sides of the bags directly after colonization. Should primordia form unabated within the confines of the sealed bag, the number and quality of spines are adversely affected. Under these conditions, the spines elongate, are loosely arranged, and when they fully develop the mass of the harvested mushroom is only a fraction of what it would have otherwise been.

(Information taken from Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, Paul Stamets)








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