What You Should Know
Ramaria formosa is a coral fungus found in Asia, Europe and North America. It is widely held to be mildly poisonous if consumed, giving rise to acute gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and colicky pain. It is a pinkish, much-branched coral-shape reaching some 20 cm (8 in) high.
This rare coral fungus of broadleaf woodland is very variable in color. Some specimens have more of an orange tinge, but perhaps the most attractive is the pink. Unfortunately, the delicate coloring of young fruit bodies soon fades.
Some forms collected in North America often lack the bitter taste common to European specimens and may represent a different species.
Other names: Beautiful Clavaria, Handsome Clavaria, Yellow-tipped- or Pink Coral Fungus.
Comment from UM user:
Here in the UP of Michigan, we have a non-bitter coral that looks as pictured and varies as described we eat each season.
Ramaria formosa Mushroom Identification
Mycorrhizal with hardwoods (occasionally with conifers); growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; summer and fall; apparently widely distributed in North America.
7-20 cm high; 3-15 cm wide.
Vertically oriented; smooth or wrinkled; coral pink when young and fresh, becoming pinkish, then orangish to yellowish tan with age; tips clear yellow, becoming orangish to yellowish tan.
Variable--sometimes insubstantial, but usually well developed beneath main branches which are separated so that at maturity the coral appears to be a cluster of smaller corals; whitish below, pink above.
Whitish to pinkish; soft; when dried chalk-like in the base.
Yellowish to orangish.
Ramaria formosa Taxonomy and Etymology
This coral fungus was described in 1797 by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon, who gave it the scientific name Clavaria formosa. It was French mycologist Lucien Quélet who, in 1888, redescribed this species under its currently-accepted scientific name Ramaria formosa.
Synonyms of Ramaria formosa include Clavaria formosa Pers.
Ramaria, the generic name, comes from Ram- meaning branch, with the suffix -aria meaning posessing or furnished with. Ramaria coral species are indeed furnished with numerous branches.
The specific epithet formosa means shapely (beautifully formed) - quite appropriate for this lovely coral fungus, which if seen early in its development when the colour has not faded is surely one of the most beautiful of all woodland fungi.
Photo 1 - Author: Ra'ike (see also: de:Benutzer:Ra'ike) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic)
Photo 2 - Author: Cephas (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Cephas (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 4 - Author: Steve Nelsen (sfnelsen) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Shape: Coral Fungi
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