© Steve Trudell

Back to Main Menu

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. 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.

Click here to download the FASTA data of all my DNA sequences

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.

Multiclavula - click to expand

They are small whitish clubs growing near algal or moss tissue.


Back to Main Menu