The Midnight Society likes their books a little bloody, but other bloody things are tantalizing, too. There’s something so enticing about the shiny, red liquid.

Which is why, in a field of torn apart trees, I was recently kneeling to take photos. Amidst all the destruction, I had spotted blood on the ground.

The ground was covered in fresh mulch and leaves. The forest had been shredded to bits. Stumps were pulled from the ground, black soil drying in clumps on their exposed roots.

Devil’s Tooth fungus (Hydnellum peckii) grows under forests, its mycelium threads wrapping around roots, sharing the damp soil. When conditions are right, the mycelium venture above ground and form masses called fruit bodies. This forest had been obliterated. And in this exposed landscape, the dusky pink bodies of the fungus had grown.

And these moist, fleshy bodies bleed.

Devil’s Tooth, also known as Bleeding Tooth Fungus, gets its name from the teeth on the underside of the fruit body. Rows of spiny protrusions cover where spores are produced.

Photograph by Ryane Snow at Mushroom Observer. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Devil’s Tooth isn’t known to be toxic, but it’s said to be much too bitter to eat. In a bit of irony, its dark red exudate contains atromentin, an anticoagulant.  So the blood from the Devil’s Tooth can keep actual blood flowing.