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The Lions Mane (Hericium erinaceus), also called monkey-head mushroom, lion’s mane, jap. yamabushitake, french pompon blanc, is a species of mushroom from the Hericiaceae family.

A native mushroom, now rare and endangered, although common throughout Europe. The fungus can change its actually parasitic way of life to saprobiontic and is therefore easily cultivated. Hericium erinaceus are considered a delicacy, and anyone who has tasted it understands this immediately.

The unique structure of the fruit body opens up a wide range of preparation methods for the creative cook. Try it “à la parisienne”: dust mouthfuls briefly in flour, drag through beaten egg, and fry briskly in plenty of foaming butter. Served with a lemonaise (a freshly whipped Sc.Hollandaise, refined with fresh lime juice and an extract of kaffir lime leaves), hmmm. A dish that will make any woman weak, despite the calories.

In Chinese medicine, monkeyhead mushroom is considered to be beneficial for stomach and respiratory problems, nervous disorders, high cholesterol, cancer and weakened immune system. Some of its purported effects have been scientifically confirmed in animal studies. Initial studies have also been conducted with patients with mild dementia to increase cognitive function.

In terms of mineral content, Hericium erinaceus is equivalent to other mushrooms. However, it contains an above-average amount of essential free amino acids. In one study, a content of 16% was proven. A total of 19 free amino acids could be detected; almost all essential amino acids for humans were present (with the exception of methionine and tryptophan).

Problems with the stomach and digestive tract, cancer (digestive tract: stomach, colon and esophagus), polyneuropathy, nervous disorders that strengthen the immune system, anxiety and restlessness, obesity

Ingestion of Hericium erinaceus is said to have a remarkable effect on prolonging the life of cancer patients. A patent issued in Japan (# 05391544) showed that this mushroom produces eninazine (= erinazine), which are potent stimulators of nerve growth factor synthesis. These compounds stimulate the regrowth of neurons, which is useful in treating senility, Alzheimer’s disease, repairing neurological trauma after stroke, enhancing muscle / motor response pathways, and enhancing muscles & cognitive functions.

1. Growing

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Growing Procedure

Good breeding success is achieved on a standard recipe for wood decomposers. Especially important is the structure of the substrate, it must be loose-fluffy and can breathe well. Use not only very fine, but also medium-fine sawdust, preferably from beech. Hedgehog spiny beards, like oyster mushrooms, can go into fruiting immediately after colonizing the substrate, they do not need a ripening period.

Hedgehogs are considered to be cheeky and hasty and sometimes fruit completely uncontrollably. Sometimes already on the petri dish, in the brood or on only partially colonized final substrate. Or even in complete darkness. They are very sensitive to too high CO² levels and sometimes even switch back to vegetation mode during fruiting. A cloudy aerial mycelium without substance sometimes develops if CO² levels exceed a critical mark for a longer period of time.

Aim for only single fruiting bodies on the substrate, better leave the culture only a few fruiting windows, ideally only pinpricks in places where primordial growth is already visible, instead of exposing them extensively.

Hericium erinaceus are obtained when the fungus can fructify hanging from the side. Then please weigh down the crop with a weight in time to prevent it from falling over. When fruiting upwards they get spherical mushrooms with beautiful curls, real “pom-poms” or “monkey heads”. Do not let the hedgehogs sit too long on the substrate, such fruiting bodies often taste bitter. For this reason, a rapid course of culture is advantageous.

In China, for the cultivation of Hericium erinaceus, containers made of plastic or glass are used. Sawdust, waste paper, rice straw, corncobs, sugarcane and cotton waste are used as growing medium. Additions of bran, gypsum or sucrose are common; wheat bran in particular results in vigorous and fast-growing mycelia. Green mold (Trichoderma) is a hazard with age. Permethrin treatment after fungus gnat infestation is not recommended, as the insecticide is deposited in the fungus in high quantities.. The mycelium grows best in an acidic pH range between 4 and 5.5.




Temp °C
21-24 10-16 18-24
Relative Humidity %
95-100 95-100 90-95
Duration d
10-14 2-5 4-5
CO2 ppm
>5000 500-1000 500-1000
FAE per h
0-1 5-8 5-8
Light lux
500-1000 500-1000


Agar Culture: Media MYPA, MEA, PDYA or DFA
Cropping: Every 14 days apart
Containers for fruiting: Tree trunks, growing bags, shotgun chamber
Biological efficiencies: 500 grams fresh from 2kg hardwood. Multiple sitefruiting, maximum yield 1kg.
Substrates: Sterilized sawdust supplemented with soy haul. Hardwood logs and stumps are recommended outdoors. The pH range for fruiting falls between 5,0 and 6,5.

Growing Characteristics

the mane do not branch or just a bit, young white brownish when older

Natural Habitat

Hericium erinaceus is a rare fungus that grows as a wound parasite on older deciduous trees, mostly oaks and beeches. It can be found on both standing and lying old tree trunks and stumps. The fungus prefers to grow in forests with high humidity.

Lions mane is found in the Holarctic, where it has a temperate distribution. In Europe, the mushroom is widespread, but rare everywhere. It occurs from France and Great Britain to Hungary, and from Denmark and southern Norway to Austria and Switzerland. In Germany, the hedgehog spiny beard grows very scattered, but is recorded at least once in almost all German states.

Summer to autumn, deciduous trees: oak, beech, fruit trees, wound parasites, moisture-loving

2. Identification


-composed of downward
-non-forking spines
-up to 40 cm in diameter in the wild
-typically white until aged and then discoloring to brown or yellow brown, especially at the top



Danger of confusion

Hericium flagellum, Hericium coralloides, Climacodon septentrionalis, Mucronella bresadolae




-5.5-7.0 × 4.5-5.5 µm
-smooth to slightly roughened
-Clamp connections present, but infrequent


© Brian Adamo (adamo588)

3. Consuming


Unlike most spiny mushrooms, the pom-pom mushroom is edible. To prepare Hericium erinaceus, it is cut into cubes unwashed (otherwise it would become waterlogged) and sautéed in butter or oil. When sliced, the mushroom can also be breaded and prepared like a vegetarian cutlet. In consistency, the mushroom resembles seafood. Its flavor is reminiscent of veal or poultry with slightly fruity aromas of coconut and lemongrass due to 4-octanolide and limonene.


rich, sweet, and farinaceous




fibrous, whitish

Nutritional content per 100g

Water 88.6g
Energy (Atwater General Factors) 43kcal
Energy (Atwater Specific Factors) 35kcal
Nitrogen 0.4g
Protein 2.5g
Total lipid (fat) 0.26g
Ash 1.08g
Carbohydrate, by difference 7.59g
Calcium, Ca <2.5mg
Iron, Fe 0.69mg
Magnesium, Mg 11.7mg
Phosphorus, P 94mg
Potassium, K 443mg
Sodium, Na 0mg
Zinc, Zn 0.74mg
Copper, Cu 177mg
Manganese, Mn 0.18mg
Selenium, Se 1.8µg
Vitamins and Other Components:
Thiamin 146mg
Riboflavin 363mg
Niacin 1.63mg
Vitamin B-6 66mg
Biotin 17µg
Folate, total 30µg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units 0.8IU
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) 0.02µg
Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) 0.02µg
Vitamin D4 0µg
Stigmasterol <0.2mg
Campesterol <0.2mg
Beta-sitosterol <0.2mg
Ergosta-7-enol 2.52mg
Ergosta-5,7-dienol 4.41mg
Ergosta-7,22-dienol 819mg
Ergosterol 68mg
Beta-sitostanol <0.2mg
Delta-5-avenasterol <0.2mg
Delta-7-Stigmastenol <0.2mg
Amino acids:
Ergothioneine 17mg

© U.S. Department Of Agriculture

4. Data

other names

Ոզնասունկ փշոտ
Игловиден корал
Chinesisch (traditionell) 猴頭菇
Chinesisch (vereinfacht) 猴头菇
Englisch Bearded Tooth
hedgehog mushroom
lion’s mane mushroom
lion’s-mane mushroom
Hydne hérisson
Ερίκιο το σκαντζοχοίρινο
Japanisch ヤマブシタケ
Koreanisch 노루궁뎅이
Niederländisch Pruikzwam
Norwegisch piggsvinsopp
Ежовик гребенчатый
гериций гребенчатый
Thailändisch เห็ดหัวลิง
korálovec ježatý
Герицій їжаковий
Ungarisch Süngomba
Wissenschaftl. Name
Hericium erinaceum
Wissenschaftl. Name
Hericium erinaceus
Wissenschaftl. Name
Hydnum erinaceus

other names

Lion’s Mane, Monkey’s Head, Sheep’s Head, Bear’s Head, Old Man’s Beard, Hedgehog Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Pom Pom, Yamabushi-take (japanese For “mountain-priest Mushroom”), Houtou, Igelstachelbart, Yamabusitake, Löwenmähne, Pom-pom Blanc, Affenkopfpilz, Hericium Erinaceum, Hericium Erinaceus Forma Caput-medusae, Hydnum Juranum, Martella Hystricinum

Kingdom Fungi

Division Basidiomycota
Class Agaricomycetes
Order Russulales
Family Hericiaceae
Genus Hericium
Species H. erinaceus
Ecology Parasitic

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