What You Should Know
Ramaria araiospora is one of the world's most beautiful mushrooms. It is distinguished by its deep pinkish-red to scarlet-red branches which make this is a strikingly beautiful and nearly unmistakable coral fungus. There are two varieties: var. araiospora, which has yellow/orange branch tips, and var. rubella, which has red branch tips.
Fruit bodies grow on the ground singly or scattered, under conifers, especially western hemlock, and deciduous trees, particularly tanoak. Fruiting usually occurs in September and November. The species is primarily known from the Pacific Northwest region of North America, although it (or a very similar, undescribed species) has been reported from Kansas. Variety rubella has been collected in the eastern Himalayas and Mexico.
It is edible, but can result in an upset stomach.
Other names: Red Coral Mushroom.
Ramaria araiospora Mushroom Identification
Probably mycorrhizal; usually growing alone or scattered; under hardwoods (especially tanoak) or conifers (especially western hemlock); fall and winter; coastal California and the Pacific Northwest.
4-13 cm high; 2-10 cm wide; repeatedly branched.
1-5 mm thick; smooth; bright red to magenta, fading to pale red or coral pink and eventually to dull orangish; tips branched, remaining red with maturity (var. rubella) or becoming orange to yellow (var. araiospora).
2-3 cm long (or longer); to 2 cm wide; whitish; finely fuzzy.
Red to pink; brittle.
Odor and Taste
Not distinctive, or cabbage-like.
Iron salts green on red or pink surfaces; flesh in the stem inamyloid with Melzer's reagent.
Spores 8-13 x 3-5 µ; subcylindrical or subfusoid; roughened with tiny warts. Basidia without basal clamps.
Ramaria stuntzii is similar in appearance, with a larger base, reddish-orange branches below, and is amyloid (unlike R. araiospora). R. cyaneigranosa is also similar, varying mostly in microscopic details.
Ramaria araiospora Taxonomy
The species was first described scientifically by mycologists Currie Marr and Daniel Stuntz in their 1974 monograph, "Ramaria of Western Washington". The holotype was collected in 1967 in Pierce County, Washington. Marr and Stuntz also published the variety rubella, which was originally collected in 1967 about 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Elbe, Washington. Ramaria araiospora is classified in the subgenus Laeticolora of Ramaria.
Ramaria araiospora Synonyms
Ramaria araiospora rubella Marr & D. E. Stuntz, 1974
Ramaria araiospora araiospora Marr & D. E. Stuntz, 1974
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