Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fungal baseball bat...with a few wrinkles

Not surprisingly, this fungus is called a club fungus. Although it doesn't have gills it still reproduces by releasing spores and is closely related to mushrooms. Clavariadelphus occidentalis is a western fungus. It's believed to be mycorrhizal, or to have a symbiotic relationship, with conifers. I find it fruiting with Douglas fir, although there are also always oaks around, as well. There's an eastern (Clavaridelphus pistillaris) version which appears to fruit with Beech.

I had hoped to include a drawing showing a club in it's habitat but they seem to have all disappeared or become saggy old things, so this will have to do for now.

I usually find these alone or in small groups of three or four. Once I found a large crowd of them, looking like a small army standing in the woods.

Two websites that have more information about this fungus are Mykoweb and MushroomExpert and there are some wonderful images at MushroomObserver.


  1. Debbie, fantastic job! Do you ever find dead men's fingers there? They're similar, but black...

    Thank you for including the website links--it's so helpful to have a place to look for more information!

  2. Thanks, Kate! I'm sorry to say we don't have dead men's fingers here, though I'd love to see some! Sounds like you've seen a few! We have dead man's feet here (Pisolithus arrhizus) but they're not quite as dramatic as the fingers. Thanks for letting me know you appreciate the links. I'm glad they're useful.

  3. Wow, this is totally new to me. Thanks for the wonderful illustration and info!

  4. Now this is cool! Great works you have shared Debbie....Linda


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