Auriscalpium vulgare, the pinecone mushroom, is a species of fungus in the family Auriscalpiaceae. It was first described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, who included it as a member of the tooth fungi genus Hydnum. British mycologist Samuel Frederick Gray recognized its uniqueness in 1821 and created the genus Auriscalpium for it. It is widely distributed in Europe, Central America, North America, and temperate Asia. The small, spoon-shaped mushrooms grow on conifer litter or on conifer cones in soil. The dark brown cap is covered with fine brown hairs, and reaches a diameter of up to 2 cm (0.8 in). The underside of the cap has an array of tiny tooth-shaped protrusions up to 3 mm long. The dark brown, hairy stem, up to 55 mm (2.2 in) long and 2 mm thick, attaches to one edge of the cap. High levels of humidity are essential for optimum mushroom development, while excesses of either light or darkness inhibit growth. A. vulgare is generally too tough to be considered edible, but some historical literature says it used to be consumed in France and Italy.
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