Carbon Antlers or Candlesnuff Fungus, Xylaria hypoxylon
Xylariaceae or Dead Man's Fingers Family

Group of mushrooms

Mushroom vaguely like stubby, often twisted or bent, sometimes forked twigs, or sometimes they are flattened at the top, like antlers. Texture dry and corky. In the spring, they may be white at the top, because of the production of white asexual spores (called conidia). They later turn black, showing the black perithecia, which are little bottle-shaped structures that cover the outer surface. Each perithecium opens to the ouside through a tiny pore, through which the sexual spores (called ascospores) are released. This fungus grows on, and causes rot in stumps, and fallen logs and branches.

Occasional in the Park, but rarely noticed by most people.

Easily identified when found, based on color and creepy shape. Dead man's fingers (X. hypoxylon) are larger and much thicker, but otherwise similar. Carbon balls (Daldinia concentrica) are pretty much ball-shaped. All are related and all owe their black color to black perithecia.



3 Mushrooms

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