© Steve Trudell

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


The Sordariomycetes, sometimes known as flask fungi, make their asci inside little volcanos called perithecia, placed around the fertile surface like a bunch of pimples. The spaces between the perithecia are sterile. In a way, these fungi may be sacrificing quantity for quality, as the spores might be more forcibly ejected out the openings of the "volcanos" and travel further. The asexual stage of fungi do not have asci (asci are a sexual structure) and therefore if you find a Sordariomycete species in the asexual stage, it will not be pimpled, but you can often tell the sexual stage of a Sordariomycete by the pimpled surface.

This page covers the large order Xylariales. Try here first for clubs and crusts covered in pimples in their sexual stage that are black and carbonaceous, but species in other orders can also look similar. For the asexual stage without pimples, recognizing them is going to be more difficult.

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.



Xylaria hypoxylon EU - carbon antlers. Delicate branching antler-like clubs growing from wood that are black, covered in a white powder in their abundant asexual stage. Rarely, you will see the pure black pimpled carbon antlers of the sexual stage. Many local sequences match the EU epitype.

unsequenced Xylaria hypoxylon (asexual) © Steve Trudell and (sexual) © Daniel Winkler


Xylaria atropictor n.p. - is fatter like a finger. I suspect it is grey and not pimpled in its asexual stage, where it may have a more complicated shape than a club, and black and pimpled in its sexual stage. Its name (when it finally gets one) will come from the way it can turn the surrounding wood black. We have many WA and OR sequences.

Xylaria bulbosa EU/X. polymorpha EU/X. curta Hawaii/X. cornu-damae PN/X. multiplex SAm/X. filiformis EU - similar thick fingered species have been reported from the PNW, but I don't know how many of those were actually X. atropictor. We need genetic evidence of these species being here.

Xylaria atropictor n.p. (asexual) © Leah Bendlin, (asexual) © Buck McAdoo, and (sexual) © Sharon Squazzo


Xylaria PNW01 - I don't know how to describe this one WA collection other than a white bundle of spines, looking a bit like Stilbella. That was probably its asexual stage, and we have no idea what it looks like in its sexual stage.

Poronia cf punctata EU - small nail-shaped fruiting bodies on horse dung, the head being white with black dots, and the stem blackish and mostly immersed in the dung. One BC collection was thought to be Poronia erici EU. No DNA yet of this species, only other species in the genus. We need local collections. I'm not sure if this is sexual or asexual.

Microdochium PNW01 - this genus contains pink snow mold. Our species PNW01 is a white and green mold on Leotia lubrica (asexual).

Xylaria PNW01 © Richard Morrison,     unsequenced Poronia © Thomas Barbin,     Microdochium PNW01 © Kayla Dixon


Daldinia loculata EU - carbon balls. Spherical to hemispherical rusty to black balls on wood, often pimpled. If you cut one open, they often have interesting bands of alternating black and white zones inside. Local DNA matches many EU and worldwide sequences. It is found in burnt forests on hardwood. Part of the sequenced OR collection was buried.

Daldinia 'childiae CA01' - our local species in this complex, but probably not the real EU species. Found in WA and CA. Supposedly microscopic mounts turn a different colour in KOH in this species. They are not easy to differentiate.

Daldinia gelatinosa NH/grandis CA/lloydii North America/loculatoides UK - have also been reported from the PNW. No local DNA yet.

Daldinia loculata © Heather Dawson (3 images),     D. 'childiae CA01' © Fred Rhoades


Kretzschmaria deusta EU - a multi-toned crust on wood that often has white, grey, and black areas. It is seldom found in a sexual stage, and will therefore often lack pimples. Note that Kretzschmaria does not clade outside of Xylaria with high support in my ITS only tree.

Kretzschmaria deusta (asexual) © Yi-Min Wang


Carbonaceous crusts - I have not yet filled in descriptions of these yet about how to tell them apart, as it can be difficult.

Hypoxylon diathrouston EU/fuscum EU/howeanum NY/macrosporum Russia/novemexicanum NM/rubiginosum EU/vogesiacum EU - red to black to grey crusts or cushions on wood that have been reported from the PNW. Some may be round enough to be confused with Daldinia, but without the interior zoning. We have no DNA of any of them yet.

Hypoxylon needs splitting (into as many as 9 genera) unless Annulohypoxylon, Daldinia and Jackrogersella are absorbed into it. I don't even know which of the 9 clades is the true Hypoxylon s.s. since the type species, H. coccineum, hasn't been sequenced to my knowledge. Hypoxylon diathrusta has already been moved to Rosellinia diathrusta.

Annulohypoxylon thouarsianum Galapagos SA - no type area DNA, only a sequence from CA purporting to be this. We need local collections.

Biscogniauxia bartholomaei WA - one AK and one CA sequence differ by 5 bp. I don't know which (if either) represents the WA species.

Biscogniauxia cinereolilacina North America/mediterranea EU/repanda  EU/uniapiculata Jawa - also reported from the PNW. We don't have any DNA except for EU type area DNA of B. mediterranea.

Entoleuca mammata EU - we have many EU type area sequences, but we need local collections.

Jackrogersella multiformis EU - One WA collection matches many EU type area sequences.

Jackrogersella PNW01 - one OR sequence is 4% different than J. multiformis.

Jackrogersella PNW02 - one WA sequence and a chinese sequence are a 3rd species in this genus.

Nemania aenea EU var. macrospora ID - We have a CA sequence matching some other geographically unspecified sequences with this name that may represent this.

Nemania serpens EU/serpens var. colliculosa NC-PN/serpens var. hydnicola NC-PN - no DNA yet.


Biscogniauxia cf. bartholomaei © Bruce Welkovich (from AK),     Jackrogersella multiformis © Danny Miller (from WA) and Mandy Hackney (from CA),     Nemania aenea var. macrospora © Warren Cardimona (from CA)

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