Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Clavulinaceae of the PNW
Clavulina are our most common drab corals, usually whitish (maybe with greyish or yellowish tones), growing on the ground. 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 both often have yellowish tones). And it's more likely to be what you found, because these are more common.
Multiclavula is cool because it's a 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 here in the Cantharellales and Lichenomphalia in the Hygrophoraceae family of the Agaricales, which is the waxy cap family, although for some reason, Lichenomphalia and some other genera in that family do not look waxy and lost the character that typically defines that family. They are small whitish clubs growing out of the ground near algal or moss tissue. These appear to be closely related to Clavulina and belong in the same family, although it could be discovered that they are further away than I think.
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 - click to expand
See the description above to separate them from other drab corals.
Clavulina aff coralloides EU - Thin, whitish branches with busy tips. It is very susceptible to a grey mold called Helminthosphaeria, making it look grey like the next two species when uniformly covered. If so, you should be able to see the tiny black dots of the pimpled mold under a hand lens that wouldn't normally be there if it was just a grey fruitbody. At 10 bp different from EU sequences, ours probably needs a new name. Sequenced from BC, WA and OR. It can turn quite brown in age, making it very confusable with the undescribed lookalike below.
Clavulina reae EU (Clavulina cinerea var. gracilis) - This is whitish when young, but quickly becomes uniformly grey. The branches may be thicker and less busy resembling Clavulina cf rugosa. This former variety was promoted to species and was not previously known from the PNW. This probably represents many reports of Clavulina cinerea, which does not appear to exist in the PNW. Sequenced from BC and WA, matching closely with many EU sequences.
Clavulina aff. coralloides © Kit Scates Barnhart, (parasitized by Helminthosphaeria) © Steve Trudell, Clavulina reae © Rose Turci
Clavulina cf cinerea/coralloides - This species appears to be confusable with both C. aff. coralloides and C. reae, as sometimes it is labeled C. coralloides and sometimes C. cinerea. We need better collections with more photos. Most collections seem to be labeled C. cinerea, but the two photos we have show more slender branches like C. coralloides so perhaps that will help distinguish it from C. reae. However, as C. aff coralloides can turn quite brown in age, this lookalike is going to be hard to distinguish. This needs further study. Sequenced from BC and WA.
Clavulina cf cinerea/coralloides © Eric Jain (currently whitish) and Steve Ness (currently grey-brown)
Clavulina cf rugosa - This is not a sister species of the EU C. rugosa, but a completely distinct species in the PNW that needs a new name. Its whitish branches are thicker and less busy than C. aff coralloides, and they won't turn grey in age, unless parasitized by Helminthosphaeria. Sequenced from WA and OR.
Clavulina aff castaneipes NC - a very interesting looking species with a brown hairy stem. The upper whitish branches may be thick like Clavulina aff. rugosa or thin like Clavulina aff. coralloides. It should be verified that both forms are the same species. Our OR and BC ITS sequences are 2% different from NC sequences that probably represent the real thing, and there is not record of how thick their branches were.
Clavulina cf rugosa © Julie Jones, Clavulina aff castaneipes © Michael Beug
- sp. JMK2019070, northern BC, actually fruited under grand fir, looked like C. cinerea, matching 4 uncultured oak root tip sequences from CA. ???
- 5 sequences of an uncultured species from OR and BC, no matching sequences and it may never even fruit here.
- 5 additional genetic species (4 from OR and 1 from BC) of one sequence each, uncultured from root tips (3 from oak). We need to find these sequences again to verify they're even clean sequences.
Multiclavula - click to expand
They are small whitish clubs growing near algal or moss tissue.
Multiclavula corynoides EU - growing from algae covered ground, this has been verified by matching within 3 bp to a sequence from the EU (the type area) and E NA, so the same species grows in all three areas.
Mutliclavula cf vernalis EU - a very, very similar species, this is our other least rare species, but it remains to be seen if it is actually here or just being confused with M. corynoides. We need samples.
Mutliclavula sharpii BC - another ground species described from Prince Rupert, BC. it is not known how far south the range extends. We need collections to verify it is a unique species not the same as one of the above.
Multiclavula cf mucida EU - growing from algae covered wood, E NA DNA is different than EU DNA, so they have a different sister species. It is not yet known if ours is the real thing or not. We need collections to find out.
Multiclavula cf coronilla Columbia -implied that there is a rumour that it occurs here in "Macrolichens of the PNW", but this seems doubtful, especially since some think it may be the same as M. mucida. We need proof before I will say it occurs here.
Multiclavula corynoides © Luca Hickey
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