Common Name: none
Synonym: Ramaria myceliosa (Peck) Corner; Clavaria myceliosa Peck
Fruiting body short, 2.5-3.0 cm tall, tufted, astipitate, consisting of fascicled
branches, weakly fused at the base, arising from rhizomorphs and a mycelial bed; branches cream-yellow in youth, becoming buff to pale-tan, sometimes honey-colored, maturing ochre-brown; apices pointed, often several to a branch tip, colored like the branches or lighter, later brown with exposure; main branches 2-3 mm in diameter, slightly compressed, pliant; odor mild, taste slightly bitter
Spores 4.5-5.5 (6.0) x 2.5-3.5 µm, spinulose, tear-shaped in face-view, elliptical in profile, inequilateral with a curved and flat side, inamyloid; spores ochre-brown in deposit.
Gregarious, in arcs, or fairy rings in duff under conifers, especially coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), and Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa); fruiting from mid to late winter; common.
Phaeoclavulina myceliosa is a short, cream to ochre-colored coral fungus, conspicuous for the arcs and rings it often forms in conifer duff. The lack of a central stipe, bitter taste, and development from a thick mycelial bed are additional characters that help separate it from similar coral fungi. These include Phaeoclavulina abietina, also common in arcs under conifers such as Monterey cypress, but more olivaceous, with a tendency to bruise bluish-green at the base; Lentaria pinicola, a short, well-branched, dull yellow to ochre coral found typically on dead conifer branches, e.g. Douglas fir, with smooth spores up to 9 microns long; Lentaria byssiseda, a small shrubby species found on woody debris with a short stipe, pinkish-tan branches, the tips lighter, occasionally greenish, and narrow, smooth spores up to 12 microns long. Phaeoclavulina myceliosa should also be compared with another small common coral fungus, Clavulina cristata. The latter fruits gregariously in pine duff, especially that of Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), but is paler, often cream-colored, and does not develop from a thick mycelial bed. Microscopically, its basidia are two-spored, the spores smooth, not spinulose.
Ramaria myceliosa was originally described from under redwoods on the Stanford University campus. This species is considered by some as a synonym of the European species Phaeoclavulina curta. Without further evidence, we consider the two species as distinct and use the California name for our taxon.
Corner, E.J.H. (1950). A Monograph of Clavaria and Allied Genera. Oxford University Press: London, England. 740 p.
Ellis, M.B. & Ellis, J.P. (1990). Fungi without Gills (Hymenomycetes and Gasteromycetes). Chapman and Hall: London, England. 329 p.
Exeter, R.L., Norvell, L. & Cázares, E. (2006). Ramaria of the Pacific Northwestern United States. United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management: Salem, OR. 157 p.
Marr, C.D. & Stuntz, D.E. (1973). Ramaria of Western Washington (Bibliotheca Mycologica, Band 38). J. Cramer: Vaduz, Liechtenstein. 232 p.
Peck, C.H. (1904). New species of fungi. Bull. Torrey bot. Club 31(4): 177-182. (Protologue)
Petersen, R.H. (1981). Ramaria subgenus Echinoramaria. J. Cramer: Vaduz, Liechtenstein. 261 p.