Clavulina cristata

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Clavulina cristata
Scientific classification
C. cristata
Binomial name
Clavulina cristata
  • Clavulina coralloides (L.) J. Schröt.[1]
  • Clavaria coralloides L., 1753[2]
  • Clavaria elegans Bolton 1789[3]
Clavulina cristata
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Smooth hymenium
No distinct cap
Stipe is bare
Spore print is white
Ecology is saprotrophic or mycorrhizal
Edibility is edible

Clavulina cristata, commonly known as the white coral fungus or the crested coral fungus,[4] is a white- or light-colored edible coral mushroom present in temperate areas of the Americas and Europe. It is the type species of the genus Clavulina.

The commonly used species name cristata was coined in 1790 by Danish mycologist Theodor Holmskjold (as Ramaria cristata). However, Linnaeus described apparently the same fungus as Clavaria coralloides in Species plantarum in 1753.[5] Therefore, according to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, the name Clavulina coralloides should be used in preference to Clavulina cristata,[6][7] although the latter name is in more common use.


Fruit bodies, which are generally white- to cream-colored, can be up to 8 centimetres (3+18 in) tall, and 2–4 cm (341+58 in) broad. The coral "arms" are sparingly branched (3–4 times), 2–4 mm wide,[8] smooth, and sometimes wrinkled longitudinally. The tips are cristate, having small pointed projections, and will often darken with age or in dry weather.[9] The fruit bodies have no distinctive odor, and a mild taste.[8]

The fruit bodies may have a darker color either due to natural variation (whereby the appearance of this species may approach and be confused with C. cinerea) or because of infection by a microscopic fungus, Helminthosphaeria clavariarum.[7]

Microscopic features[edit]

The spores are white, roughly spherical, thick-walled, non-amyloid, smooth, and have dimensions of 7–11 by 6–10 µm.[8][10] Basidia are club-shaped, 60–80 by 6–8 µm, and 2-spored.[4] Cystidia are absent. Sterigmata, the slender projections of the basidium that bear the spores, may be straight or curved, and up to 7–8 µm long.[11] Microscopic and molecular analysis indicate that the species is related to chanterelles.[12]



Clavulina cristata is found growing solitary or in clusters on the ground (sometimes on rotten wood) in both coniferous and hardwood forests. It is a common mushroom, and typically fruits from late summer to winter.


This fungus is edible,[13][14] but the tough flesh and insubstantial fruit bodies make it unappetizing to some individuals.[10] It is considered excellent by some.[15][16]


Some other coral fungi have macroscopic and microscopic features similar to Clavulina cristata, making identification confusing.[12] Clavulina rugosa is unbranched or sparingly branched.[12] Clavulina cinerea is usually darker in color.[12] Ramaria stricta has parallel branches and grows on wood.


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).[17] C. cristata is the only fungi known to contain α-parinaric acid.[18]


  1. ^ Joseph Schröter, in Cohn, Krypt.-Fl. Schlesien (Breslau) 3.1(25–32), page 443 (1888)
  2. ^ L., Sp. pl. 2, page 1182 (1753)
  3. ^ Bolton, Hist. fung. Halifax (Huddersfield) 3,page 115 (1790)
  4. ^ a b Ellis, J. B.; Ellis, Martin B. (1990). Fungi without gills (hymenomycetes and gasteromycetes): an identification handbook. London: Chapman and Hall. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-412-36970-4.
  5. ^ See bottom of p. 1182 of Carolus Linnaeus "Species Plantarum, exhibentes ..." (1753), available on-line at the Missouri Botanical Garden's digital library.
  6. ^ See the Index Fungorum entry Archived 2007-10-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b See Kuo, M. (2007, April) the MushroomExpert.Com Web site entry: [1].
  8. ^ a b c Miller, Hope Ridings; Miller, Orson K. (2006). North American mushrooms: a field guide to edible and inedible fungi. Guilford, Conn: Falcon Guide. p. 345. ISBN 978-0-7627-3109-1.
  9. ^ Arora, David (1986). Mushrooms Demystified: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi. Berkeley, Calif: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-0-89815-169-5.Google Books
  10. ^ a b Orr, Dorothy B.; Orr, Robert Thomas (1980). Mushrooms of Western North America (California Natural History Guides). Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-520-03660-4.
  11. ^ Linda Fung-yee Ng (1993). The Macrofungus Flora of China's Guangdong Province (Chinese University Press). New York: Columbia University Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-962-201-556-2. Google Books
  12. ^ a b c d Trudell, Steve; Ammirati, Joe (2009). Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. Timber Press Field Guides. Portland, OR: Timber Press. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-88192-935-5.
  13. ^ Foy, Nicky; Phillips, Roger; Kibby, Geoffrey (1991). Mushrooms of North America. Boston: Little, Brown. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-316-70613-1.
  14. ^ Ian Burrows (2005). Food from the Wild. New Holland Publishers Ltd. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-84330-891-1. Google Books
  15. ^ Margaret McKenny; Daniel E Stuntz (1987). The New Savory Wild Mushroom. University of Washington Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-295-96480-5.
  16. ^ Geoff, Dann (2016-09-29). Edible mushrooms: a forager's guide to the wild fungi of Britain, Ireland and Europe. Cambridge, England. ISBN 9780857843975. OCLC 971245992.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  17. ^ Endo S, Zhiping G, Takagi T. (1991). Lipid components of seven species of Basidiomycotina and three species of Ascomycotina. Journal of the Japan Oil Chemists' Society 40(7): 574–77.
  18. ^ Endo S. (1997). Vegetables are a treasurehouse of effective lipid sources. Nihon yukagaku kaishi 46(10): 1247–256. Abstract

External links[edit]