RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — Tuesday marked the first official day of summer, which means it’s prime hiking season in North Carolina.
If you’re out on a scenic hike this season, keep an eye out for the bleeding tooth fungus, also known as Hydnellum peckii, if you want to add something a little out-of-the-ordinary to your day.
The fungus is not dangerous, despite its creepy appearance.
It oozes dime-sized pools of a sap-like substance that looks like blood and is caused by a process called guttation, according to the National Parks Service.
While it may not be toxic, taking a bite out of a bleeding tooth fungus, which is also referred to as strawberries and cream and fruit danish, is not recommended since it has an extremely bitter taste.
The NPS says the fungus has a wide range in North America, extending north to Alaska and east to North Carolina.