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

Clavulina cristata (Fr.) J. Schroet.
crested coral

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

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Rosemary Taylor  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #22043)

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Distribution of Clavulina cristata
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Species Information

whitish branches with toothed crest at tips, brittle to tough flesh, whitish or grayish stem which is sometimes absent, growth in fields or under trees, and nearly round smooth spores on 2-spored basidia; some authors regard Clavulina rugosa as part of this species, and the Arora description used below appears to include this "unbranched to sparingly branched, wrinkled or knobby" taxon; found in OR (Zeller(2), Dunham(1)), BC (Schalkwijk-Barendsen), one of the Pacific Northwest's commonest coral fungi (Ammirati), found in temperate regions of the whole world, common, (Corner(2)), collections from WA, OR, and CA at Oregon State University; collections from BC at Pacific Forestry Centre and University of British Columbia
Fruiting body:
2-4cm wide, 2.5-8cm high, densely branched tufts with jagged, fringed, or crested tips, (Phillips), branches polychotomous or dichotomous in lower part, the tips acute and generally becoming cristate-fimbriate [with a crest - fringed] or spicular-denticulate [with small spikes or teeth] (20-100 microns wide) or even reduced to single hyphae, often flattened, sometimes merely subulate [awl-shaped], (Corner), up to 5cm wide, 2-7(12)cm high, erect but variable in form, '"typical" form branched but other forms sparsely or irregularly branched and still others unbranched', branches smooth in typical form, uneven or knobby or longitudinally wrinkled or flattened in other forms, tips acute and often finely toothed in "typical" form but blunt and often enlarged in others, (Arora)
"rather tough, or moderately brittle when turgid, sometimes hollow"; drying whitish, (Corner), brittle to rather tough; white, (Arora)
Branch color:
whitish, often becoming yellow-tinged or ocher, rarely pinkish white, (Phillips), white often becoming tinged yellowish, ochraceous or fuliginous, rarely pinkish white, (Corner), usually white, but sometimes tinged gray, buff, yellowish, or pinkish, tips
up to 3cm long, sometimes none; whitish or grayish, (Phillips), 0.5-3cm long or practically absent, grayish when parasitized by Rosellinia clavariae, (Corner), present as sterile base, slender; white or darkened by a parasite, (Arora)
none in particular (Corner)
none in particular (Corner)
spores 7-11 x 6.5-10 microns, nearly round, smooth, slightly thick-walled, with one droplet

basidia 40-60 x 6-8 microns, sterigmata 5-7 microns long

hymenium thickening up to 200 microns, subhymenial hyphae 3-5 microns wide

cystidia none

hyphae 25-200 x 3-15 microns, shorter near hymenium, clamped, colorless, the walls very slightly thickened

sterile base of stem "with narrow hyphae, 3-7 microns wide, at the surface and loosely projecting hyphal ends 30-100 microns long, often with a few subclavate sterile basidia as a loose and very irregular sterile hymenium passing gradually or suddenly into the hymenium" at a distance of 0.2-0.5cm from the base of the stem, (Corner), spores 7-11 x 6.5-10 microns, basidia 2-spored, (Phillips)
Spore Deposit:
white (Phillips)

Habitat / Range

single or scattered on ground in fields or under hardwoods and conifers, June to September, (Phillips), on the ground in fields and coniferous or hardwood woods, (Corner), July to October, (Lincoff), on the ground or dead wood (Courtecuisse), summer, fall, and early winter, (Miller)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Clavaria cristata Fr.
Clavaria fallax Pers.
Clavaria trichopus Pers.
Ramaria cristata Fr.) Quel.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


edible (Arora), discard specimens that are parasitized by a blackening fungus (Ammirati)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Corner(2), Phillips(1)*, Miller(14)*, Lincoff(2)*, Schalkwijk-Barendsen(1)*, Courtecuisse(1)*, Arora(1)* (as Clavulina cristata group), Ammirati(1)*, Zeller(2), Dunham(1), Bessette(2) (discussing C. cinerea)

References for the fungi

General References