This fungus is a real treat! Many foragers stumble on this fungus while looking for chanterelles. From afar I often think they are. Hedgehog mushrooms are mychorrizal with hardwoods & conifers. Mychorrizal fungi grow symbiotically with their host tree. Near my home in Cleveland I find them growing near oak and mixed conifers.
Hedgehogs have a corncob colored cap that is slightly convex but most often flat(ish). The margin (edge) of the cap will be inrolled. That means that it curves under itself. The cap will bruise a shade of orange when handled or damaged. The stipe (stem) will be centered or slightly off centered, smooth, and various shades of white to pale golden yellow. The most striking and prominent feature is the spore bearing surface. This fungi doesn’t have gills, tubes, or pores. It has spikes! Don’t fret, they’re not sharp. In fact they’re quite fragile and fall off very easily. This being the case I always scrape off the spikes before putting them in my basket. If you don’t do this then they’ll fall off and make a mess on everything else you may find.
Hedgehog mushrooms don’t fruit in large numbers like their relatives the chanterelles. If I find 5 then I consider that a huge amount. Hedgehogs are a ‘choice’ fungus and have a rich deep umami flavor that reminds some people of oysters. We love these little gals at Larder and use them in a variety of dishes.
As with all fungi what you see is but a small portion of a much, much larger organism. Feel free to harvest all that you see being careful not to disturb the mycelia (‘roots’) or habitat in which the fungus is growing.