Cap 5-25 cm broad, convex, depressed to infundibulate at the center, margin at first inrolled, becoming decurved, sometimes wavy or lobed; surface dry, consisting of coarse, dark-brown to almost black, erect scales on a pallid to light brown background, in age the scales sometimes partially weathering away; flesh thick, soft, cream to buff, unchanging; odor: mild; taste: mild to bitter.
Teeth 0.5-1.0 cm long, pallid, becoming light to medium-brown, often decurrent.
Stipe 3.5-8 cm tall, 2-3.5 cm thick, stout, tapering downward or enlarged at the base, solid, but at maturity the apex often hollow; surface dry, colored like the cap with appressed fibrils or fibrillose, attachment central to eccentric; veil absent.
Spores 6-7.5 x 5-6.5 µm, broadly elliptical to nearly round, tuberculate; spore print brown.
Scattered, or in arcs in mixed hardwood/conifer woods; fruiting from after the fall rains through mid-winter.
Edible when young and not bitter. Montane collections are better than coastal collections.
A handsome and often large mushroom, Sarcodon imbricatus is distinguished by a coarse, dark-scaled cap and brown-toothed fertile surface. Sarcodon scabrosum is similar but is less scaly, very bitter, and its context turns blue-green in KOH. Hydnellum is a related genus containing tough, leathery to woody species. None is likely however, to be confused with Sarcodon imbricatus which has a fleshy context.