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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Clavulinaceae of the PNW
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to Clavulina and Multiclavula.


Clavulina are our most common drab corals, usually whitish (maybe with greyish or yellowish tones), growing on the ground. They are mycorrhizal. Many other different kinds of more brightly coloured coral mushrooms exist. As for other white corals, Ramariopsis in the Agaricales is a very clean looking pure white. Lentaria in the Gomphales grows on wood. Artomyces in the Russulales and Clavicorona in the Agaricales have crown shaped tips. Ramaria in the Gomphales has some whitish corals that grow on the ground (although most are coloured or grow on wood) that are probably the easiest to confuse with Clavulina. But they are often bitter. Clavulina is more likely to have either thin, busy branch tips or thicker individual branches, and be white or grey (whereas Lentaria and Ramaria often have yellowish tones). Clavulina is more common than the pale Ramarias that grow on the ground, so you are more likely to find it.

Multiclavula are cool because they are lichen. Most lichens are symbiotic relationships between algae and Ascomycota, but locally we have 2 groups of Basidiomycota that form lichens with algae and actually form mushroom fruiting bodies (unlike Ascos which don't) - Multiclavula (on this page) and Lichenomphalia (one of the non-waxy genera of the Hygrophoraceae). Multiclavula are small whitish clubs growing out of the ground near algal or moss tissue.

This really isn't a separate family, all of these genera appear inside the Hydnaceae, but since there is a lot of morphologic variety in this order, I am treating them on two separate pages. Note that Sistotrema is polyphyletic and the type species, Sistotrema confluens, is closely related to Hydnum and is discussed on that page, but other species, like Sistotrema brinkemanii need to be moved to a new genus and will probably appear on this page once I get around to including crust fungi more comprehensively. Sistotrema may even need to be split into 4 or more genera.

A good overview of the Cantharellales can be found here.

abundant common uncommon rare - colour codes match my Pictorial Key and are my opinions and probably reflect my bias of living in W WA. Rare species may be locally common in certain places at certain times.

Summary of Interesting Results

Here are some of the newest, most interesting results of the study:

  • Clavulina reae is discovered in the PNW, but most other Clavulina spp. may need new names.
  • a common, unnamed lookalike of our Clavulina aff coralloides is currently hard to distinguish from it.

Clavulina - click to expand

See the description above to separate them from other drab corals. All are mycorrhizal.

Multiclavula - click to expand

These are small whitish clubs growing near algal or moss tissue. They are rare examples of a basidiomycota lichen forming a mushroom fruiting body.


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