Climacodon septentrionalis

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Climacodon septentrionalis
Climacodon septentrionalis 134149.jpg
Scientific classification
C. septentrionalis
Binomial name
Climacodon septentrionalis
(Fr.) P.Karst. (1881)
  • Hydnum septentrionale Fr. (1821)
  • "Hericium septentrionale" (Fr.) Pat. (1900)
  • Steccherinum septentrionale (Fr.) Banker (1906)
  • Creolophus septentrionalis (Fr.) Banker (1912)
  • "Pleurodon septentrionalis" (Fr.) Ricken (1928)

Climacodon septentrionalis, commonly known as the northern tooth fungus or the white rot fungus, is a species of shelf fungus in the phylum Basidiomycota.[2] It is white in color and can be found in large clusters on the trunks of trees.[3] This species is a plant pathogen native to North America.[2]


C. septentrionalis was originally described by Elias Magnus Fries in 1821 under the genus Hydnum.[4][5] It was later transferred to Climacodon in 1881 by Petter Karsten.[6]


Underside of a C. septentrionalis cap with spines.

Individual caps are semicircular or kidney-shaped and can reach up to 30 cm across and 2.5-5.0 cm at the base.[2][3] They typically occur in large groups that can reach 80 cm in height.[2][3] Young caps range from mostly white to a yellow-cream color, and slowly become a yellow-brown as they age.[2][3] Although, the caps tend to persist for multiple weeks, allowing algae to grow, giving them a slightly green appearance.[3] The surface of the cap can be rough or even hairy, and can have concentric rings radiating out from the base.[3] The underside of the cap has many white spines (see left) that reach 1 cm in length and also yellow with age.[2] C. septentrionalis is edible but not palatable due to its tough flesh and bitter taste.[2][3] They can be found in the summer months and are a common cause of heart rot in hardwood trees in their native range.[2][3]

Habitat and Distribution[edit]

This species is native to northeastern North America, ranging from southern Canada to Kentucky, and as far west as the Great Plains.[2][3][7] C. septentrionalis is found on the trunks of living and recently deceased trees, especially beech (Fagus) and maple (Acer) species.[2][3]

Nematode Predation[edit]

C. septentrionalis was the first observed species fungus not in the genus Agaricus to secrete a toxin that it uses to immobilize and kill fungiphagous nematodes.[8][9] The mycelium of this species grows secretory cells the protrude outwards and develop branches that produce the substance in small droplets.[8] When a nematode comes in contact with a droplet, they become encased in it, and their motion is completely inhibited.[8] Death after contact occurs within several hours, but the rate at which a nematode was decomposed varied greatly, ranging from a few weeks to several days.[8]

Novel Compounds[edit]

C. septentrionalis has been found to produce a few different compounds that have potential to be used for a variety of products.[10] Esters are natural or synthetic, fragrant compounds that can be found in perfumes and flavorings, or used in paints, solvents, insecticides, and more.[11] The mycelium of this species produces esters that could be used in perfumes.[10][11] The compound furaneol is a commonly used in the cooking industry as a flavoring, with different forms having tastes ranging from a strawberry or pineapple to a caramel or honey flavor.[12] The furaneol found in C. septentrionalis is extracted from its fruiting bodies, and has a strawberry-like flavor and taste.[10]


  1. ^ Index Fungorum
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Climacodon septentrionalis". Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Climacodon septentrionalis (MushroomExpert.Com)". Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  4. ^ "Hydnum septentrionale Fr". Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  5. ^ "Index Fungorum - Names Record". Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  6. ^ "Loading..." Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  7. ^ "Climacodon septentrionalis (Fr.) P.Karst". Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  8. ^ a b c d Tanney, Joey B.; Hutchison, Leonard J. (2012-01-01). "The production of nematode-immobilizing secretory cells by Climacodon septentrionalis". Mycoscience. 53 (1): 31–35. doi:10.1007/s10267-011-0128-1. ISSN 1340-3540.
  9. ^ Soares, Filippe Elias de Freitas; Sufiate, Bruna Leite; de Queiroz, José Humberto (2018-02-01). "Nematophagous fungi: Far beyond the endoparasite, predator and ovicidal groups". Agriculture and Natural Resources. 52 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.anres.2018.05.010. ISSN 2452-316X.
  10. ^ a b c Wu, Jing; Tsujimori, Megumi; Hirai, Hirofumi; Kawagishi, Hirokazu (2011). "Novel compounds from the mycelia and fruiting bodies of Climacodon septentrionalis". Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. 75 (4): 783–785. doi:10.1271/bbb.100849. ISSN 1347-6947. PMID 21512224.
  11. ^ a b "ester | Description, Types, & Reactions | Britannica". Retrieved 2022-05-07.
  12. ^ PubChem. "Furaneol". Retrieved 2022-05-07.