Branched, whitish mass on fallen logs and decaying deciduous trees. Branches covered with tufts of hanging, toothlike spines. August–October. Fruiting body an irregular mass with multiple branches; sides and undersurfaces of branches covered with tufts of hanging, toothlike spines, each spine ¼–½ inch long; white to creamy, becoming yellowish; texture coarsely toothed yet soft. Stalk short, thick, stublike, dividing into spine-covered branches; white to creamy, becoming yellowish; texture hairy. Spore print white. Spores magnified are almost round, smooth to roughened, colorless.
Lookalikes: Bearded tooth (H. erinaceus) is an unbranched, beardlike mass of long, hanging spines, and it fruits in wounds on living trees.