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Xylaria polymorpha.   Click a photo to enlarge it.   back to list

synonyms: Bunkós agancsgomba, Dead Man’s Fingers, Vielgestaltige Holzkeule, Xilaire polymorphe
Xylaria polymorpha Mushroom
Ref No: 9675
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Xylaria polymorpha2 Mushroom
Ref No: 9676
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Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett 2 Mushroom
Ref No: 19923
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location: North America, Europe
edibility: Inedible
fungus colour: Black or blackish
normal size: 5-15cm
cap type: Other
stem type: Lateral, rudimentary or absent
spore colour: White, cream or yellowish
habitat: Grows on wood

Xylaria polymorpha (Pers. ex Mérat) Greville. Dead Man’s Fingers, Xilaire polymorphe, Vielgestaltige Holzkeule, Bunkós agancsgomba, Houtknotszwam. Fruit body 3–8cm high, 1–3cm wide, irregularly club-shaped passing into a short cylindrical stalk below, black with a finely wrinkled or roughened surface. Flesh tough, white; the section shows the distinctive pattern of the spore-producing cavities, the perithecia, just below the surface crust. Asci 200 x 10um. Spores blackish, fusiform, 20–32 x 5–9um. Habitat in groups on stumps, usually beech. Season all year. Common. Not edible. Distribution, America and Europe. The two super latest shots were sent to me by David Tuckett. Thanks David.

Members' images and comments

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James Russell (United States) - 30 June 2015

Deadman's fingers? Doesn't quite match photos, but don't know what else it might be (and it looks cool). Bainbridge Island, WA USA. 4/13/2008
Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Jeff Benjamin (United States) - 08 October 2013

Cluster at base of living Ash tree.
Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Harry Swihart (United States) - 06 August 2013

Roger - Your confirmation of this Xylaria Polymorpha mushroom is greatly appreciated. Found in Cassopolis, Michigan 02 Aug 13. Thanks to Marcy Hegglund for her cross section which is identical to mine and helped to confirm my white spore print.
Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Marcy Hegglund (United States) - 29 July 2013

Found in garden containing roots of enormous oak tree removed a year ago. Thanks for addressing my curiosity. (Asheville, Nc)
Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Dejan Stojanovic (Yugoslavia) - 24 July 2012

Xylaria polymorpha. Inedible fungi.
Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Kristina Trott (United States) - 30 May 2012

under spruce--- very numerous and varied
Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Kristina Trott (United States) - 30 May 2012

Growing on dead maple roots under spruce
Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Slobodan Nikolic (Yugoslavia) - 08 April 2010

Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Chris Cooper (United Kingdom) - 29 September 2009

This is the final image. I've cut a lump off and cut it in three. Still smells of creamy mushroom soup! Must go to the shop and buy some.
Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Chris Cooper (United Kingdom) - 29 September 2009

This is a closer picture of the one I uploaded earlier. I wanted to show where it was growing. Not sure what is under it as we only moved into this house 6 months ago and its go a large overgrown garden.
Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Thomas of Baltimore City (United States) - 27 February 2009

Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Lorand Bartho (Hungary) - 24 October 2008

Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
Lorand Bartho (Hungary) - 24 October 2008

Xylaria polymorpha  David Tuckett
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