Clavulina coralloides: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Clavulina coralloides Mushroom
This distinctive coral mushroom can be recognized in the field by its white colors and "cristate" branch tips, which are flattened and feature several tiny points. Multi-branched structure arising from a short, stalk-like base, white to cream or pale yellow; branching pattern shrub-like, ultimate branches rounded below and somewhat flattened above, tips with tiny, tooth-like projections; spores white in mass. Common and widespread in woods and occasionally in grassland.
Clavulina coralloides are often found fruiting late in the year, long after most other fungi are no longer in evidence. It is considered to be edible.
Other names:Clavulina Cristata, Crested Coral, White Coral Mushroom.
Clavulina coralloides Identification
Presumed to be mycorrhizal with conifers and perhaps with hardwoods; growing alone, gregariously, or in clusters; summer and fall (overwinter in warm climates); widely distributed in North America.
2-10 cm high; 3-10 cm wide; sparingly to (more commonly) repeatedly branched.
2-5 mm thick; smooth; white, sometimes becoming pinkish to pale pinkish brown with age; tips colored like the sides, flattened and "cristate" with several sharp points; grayish to brownish when dried for the herbarium; when parasitized becoming dark gray to black from the base upward, and eventually blackish overall.
When present .5-3 cm long; up to about 0.5 cm wide; white (gray to black when parasitized).
Whitish; fairly brittle.
Irons salts negative on branches.
Spores 7-11 x 6.5-10 µ; subglobose; smooth; with an apiculus. Basidia clavate; 40-60 x 6-8 µ; 2-sterigmate with long (5-7 µ), incurved sterigmata. Clamp connections present.
Clavulina rugosa is unbranched or sparingly branched. Clavulina cinerea is usually darker in color. Ramaria stricta has parallel branches and grows on wood.
Clavulina coralloides Taxonomy & Etymology
Crested Coral was described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus in his Species Plantarum, wherein he gave it the scientific binomial name Clavaria coralloides. This species remained in the genus Clavaria for more than a century, until in 1888 the German mycologist Joseph Schrötter (1837 - 1894) transferred it to the genus Clavulina, thereby establishing the currently-accepted scientific name Clavulina coralloides.
Crested Coral, has acquired several synonyms including Clavaria coralloides L., Ramaria cristata Holmsk., Clavaria cristata (Holmsk.) Pers., Clavulina cristata var. lappa P. Karst., Clavulina cristata (Holmsk.) J. Schröt., Clavulina cristata f. subcinerea Donk, Clavulina cristata var. coralloides Corner, Clavulina cristata var. incarnata Corner, Clavulina cristata var. subrugosa Corner. The synonym Clavulina cristata was commonly used in field guides until recently.
The specific epithet coralloides means resembling coral.
Clavulina coralloides Chemistry
In addition to the major fatty acid components, palmitic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid, C. cristata contains two unusual fatty acids, cis-9, cis-14-octadecadien-12-ynoic acid, and the conjugated cis-9, trans-11, trans-13, cis-15-octadecatetraenoic acid (commonly known as α-parinaric acid). C. cristata is the only fungi known to contain α-parinaric acid.
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