What You Should Know
Thelephora terrestris is an inedible species of fungus in the Basidiomycota phylum. It is commonly known by the name Common Fiber Vase because of its circular and overlapping cap.
This mushroom is present year-round, though is mostly seen from July to December. As the fruiting body forms, it starts lighter in color then turns to a darker shade of brown as it ages. A stalk may not be present, if there is one, it is usually very short. Sometimes the fungi are grown in large colonies. The shape is described as a fan and can grow up to 6cm wide. It has been described to have a moldy earth-like smell.
The hyphae of mycorrhizal forms walls that becomes thicker as it ages, while in earlier stages may be spiney. When mating, the hyphae forms clamp connections. The spores are purple-brown in color, ellipsoid or angular shape.
The full life cycle can be reproduced and studied in a laboratory, both ectomycorrhizal form and mushroom form.
Due to the mycotoxins that the fungi produces, it protects pinus trees from root pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi.
Other names: Earthfan, Common Fiber Vase.
Thelephora terrestris Mushroom Identification
Mycorrhizal with conifers (but also documented by Ingleby & Mason, 1996, with eucalyptus); spreading terrestrially and forming single to gregarious or (more often) clustered fruiting bodies; summer and fall (and overwinter in warm climates); widespread and common in North America.
A spreading mass of cap-like structures 2-4 cm high, often fused laterally and/or forming rosettes.
2-4 cm across; centrally depressed; fan-shaped to semicircular; radially wrinkled and grooved; dry; fibrillose to velvety; shades of dark brown, with a whitish margin when fresh; vaguely zoned.
Wrinkled or, with age, compressed into small bumps that are vaguely radially arranged; grayish brown; bald.
Tough; about 2 mm thick; brownish; unchanging when sliced.
Spores 7-10 x 5-6 µ (excluding ornamentation); angular; covered with spines that extend 0.5-1 µ; brownish in KOH. Subhymenium not bluing in KOH. Tramal hyphae cylindric; 2-4 µ wide; walls slightly thickened, smooth, and brownish to brown in KOH; often clamped at septa.
The rather more common Thelephora penicillata is seen most often in damp coniferous forests.
Thelephora terrestris Taxonomy and Etymology
Earth Fan was described in 1786 by the German naturalist Jakob Friedrich Ehrhart (1742 - 1795), who named gave it the binomial scientific name Thelephora terrestris by which it is generally known today.
Thelephora terrestris has several synonyms including Auricularia phylacteris Bull., Thelephora phylacteris (Bull.) Lam. & DC., Phylacteria terrestris (Ehrh.) Pat., Tomentella phylacteris (Bull.) Bourdot & Galzin, Hypochnus phylacteris (Bull.) Rea, and Thelephora phylacteris (Bull.) Corner.
There is also a resupinate form of the Earth Fan fungus which grows as a crust on dead wood; it has been given the scientific name Thelephora terrestris f. terrestris.
The origin of the generic name Thelephora is the Greek word thele meaning nipple, and phorus meaning bearing or carrying. The specific epithet terrestris is straightforward and means, just as it sounds, of the earth (as in terrestrial).
Photo 1 - Author: Michel Langeveld (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 2 - Author: Nina Filippova (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Michel Langeveld (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 4 - Author: Diego Delso (1974–) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
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