E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Gomphus clavatus Gray
pig's ears

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #15618)

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Distribution of Gomphus clavatus
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Species Information

Also listed in Veined category. Gomphus clavatus is distinguished by its shape like a chopped-off lopsided club that is flattened and uplifted more on one side, often overlapping with other fruiting bodies, dull purplish veined cap undersurface, growth in fused clusters, and elongate spores. The common name "pig's ears" is also used for the ascomycete Gyromitra ancilis (=Discina perlata). G. clavatus is found at least in BC, WA, OR, ID, MB, NB, NS, ON, QC, CA, MA, MI, NH, NC, NY, TN, TX, Mexico, (Petersen), Europe, Pakistan, India, and Japan, (Pilz(1)).
2-10(15)cm across, 6-20cm or more high, nearly cylindrical to more or less club-like, flat or depressed, margin often wavy or lobed and often more developed on one side than the other, fruiting bodies often growing in fused or compound clusters; light purplish to purplish-tan to olive-brown, olive-buff, tan, or yellowish buff; moist or dry but not viscid, "smooth or breaking up into minute scales", (Arora), flat, somewhat wavy, depressed to concave, scalloped at margin; brown to yellow-olive; smooth, covered with anastomosing brownish patches that are separate and distinct toward margin but forming a solid felty tomentum over the top, (Castellano), (3)5-10(15)cm across, at first scarcely differentiated from stem (the fruitbodies resembling truncate clubs), soon the margin spreading and often developing almost entirely on one side, often becoming broadly funnel-shaped from the uplifted margin or fan-shaped, the margin usually extensively lobed or sinuate when old; at first dull vinaceous to purplish but soon fading to sordid brown [dingy brown]; dry, bald, unpolished to velvety, when old at times minutely scaly, (Smith)
thick, firm; white or buff, (Arora), thick in disc but thin (+/- 0.5cm) in the extended margin; whitish to pale buff, (Smith)
deeply decurrent, shallow, blunt veins or wrinkles, forking, occasionally with pore-like appearance; usually dull purple to purplish-tan, slowly fading to dull ochre, tan, or buff, (Arora), wavy-wrinkled, with or without discrete folds or pits; bright violaceous at margin and junction with stem, and all over when immature, becoming duller in color, (Castellano), "numerous low, crowded, frequently forked or anastomosing ridges and with numerous thick veins connecting the ridges, at times almost poroid in appearance", decurrent almost to the base of the stem; variable in color but usually tinged purple or vinaceous, (Smith)
3-5(10) x 1-3cm, central or off-center, continuous with cap, equal or narrowed at base, often curved, solid, firm, often fused to others at base; buff to pale purple, (Arora), solid; white at base and where protected, smooth in upper part and there blending to pale dull violaceous, often becoming pale brown where handled, (Castellano), often compound, 4-10cm long, 0.8-3cm thick in lower part and expanding into the cap, "sometimes many fused at the base into a large fleshy mass, solid, becoming hollow"; whitish in lower part from a thin mycelioid covering, purplish drab in upper part, (Smith)
mild (Smith), mild or faintly earthy (Phillips)
mild (Smith), mushroomy (Phillips), musty (Castellano)
Microscopic spores:
spores 10-13 x 4-6.5 microns, elliptic, slightly wrinkled or warted, (Arora), (9.8)10.3-15.5(16.8) x 4.3-7.0(7.5) microns, elliptic to narrowly oval, with scattered warts, spores inamyloid, somewhat thick walled, near dark olive-tan; basidia (2)4-spored, 60-90 x 8.5-11.5 microns, elongate-clavate; cystidia absent; clamp connections present; cap surface a turf of pileocystidia 3.0-4.5 microns wide, thin-walled, "densely scattered to fasciculate, protruding 50-120 microns from the surface, simple to commonly axially branched", (Castellano), spores 10-12(13) x 5-6 microns, narrowly elliptic, outer wall somewhat roughened, inamyloid; basidia 4-spored, 65-80(90) x 7-9 microns; cystidia not seen; cap trama with upright cells, 40-80 x 2.5-6 microns, forming a very compact turf; clamp connections abundant, (Smith), spores (9)10-16(17) x (4)4.5-7(7.5) microns, (Pilz)
Spore deposit:
pale tan to pale ocher (Arora), ocher to dark olive-buff (Pilz), yellowish orange (Miller)

Habitat / Range

scattered to gregarious often in fused pairs or clusters, under conifers, (Arora), closely gregarious to cespitose [in tufts], partially hidden in deep humus under conifers, (Castellano), occasionally gregarious but usually cespitose or in compound clusters that may even occur in arcs or fairy rings, typically on humus though often near very decayed logs, most abundant under conifers, (Smith), late summer and fall (Miller)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Cantharellus clavatus Fr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


edible, but some get severe gastric upset

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Arora(1)*, Smith(11) (as Cantharellus clavatus), Castellano(2)*, Pilz(1), Phillips(1), Lincoff(2)*, Miller(14)*, Ammirati(1)*, Bessette(2)*, McKnight(1)*, Courtecuisse(1)*, Trudell(4)*, Barron(1)*, Petersen(9), AroraPocket*, Buczacki(1)*

References for the fungi

General References