The fairy clubs and coral fungi belong to the family Clava riacece. They are fleshy fungi of upright growth, which have their spore-bearing surface exposed on the apices of branching or simple club-like forms. Many are extremely beautiful, resembling corals of exquisite shades of pink, violet, yellow, or white.

The seven genera are distinguished by the colour of the spores, by their habit of growth- whether simple or branched, and, if branching, by the form of the branches; whether club-like or thread-like, flat or round, cartilaginous or leathery. Many of the members of this family are edible, and none are known to be unwholesome, so that it will be safe for a beginner to try any of them.

Genus Physalacria

Plant small, simple, hollow, and enlarged at the apex.

Genus Pistillaria

Plants conspicuous, club-shaped or thread-like, with two spicules to each spore-bearing cell.

Genus Typhula

Plants conspicuous, club-shaped or thread-like, with four spicules to each spore-bearing cell.

Clav'-ar'.l-a'-ce-ae Phys-a-la'-crf-a PIs-tll-la'-ri-a Typh'-u-la

Little Tongue Clavaria

Little Tongue Clavaria

{Clavaria ligula, Fr.) Young specimens yellow ; mature specimens tawny. See p. 99

Genus Sparassis

Plants conspicuous, with the branches strongly flattened or leaf-like.

Sparassis crispa somewhat resembles a yellow cauliflower, and often forms masses as large as one's hand. It is considered an excellent fungus for the table.

Genus Pterula

The members of this genus are mostly slender, thread-like forms, cartilaginous when moist, and horny when dry.

Genus Lachnocladium

The members of this genus are leathery plants covered with hairs.

Genus Clavaria

The genus Clavaria is the largest genus in the family Clava-riacece. Many of the species are edible, and so easily recognised that the beginner may venture without hesitation to eat any of the branching forms. The club-like forms might be mistaken for certain club-shaped forms of the sac-fungi unless an examination of the spores were made. The Clavarias would have the spores on little spicules, as in the garden mushroom, whereas the forms for which they might be mistaken would have them in membranous sacs.

In collecting species of Clavaria, notes should be taken as to the character of the apices of the branches, the colour of the branches, the colour of the spores, the taste, and the place of growth.

Pale Yellow Clavaria (Edible)

Clavaria flava

Plant - White and pale yellow. 2-3 inches high ; the mass of branches 2-5 inches wide.

Spa-ras'-sis Cris'-pa Ter-u-la Lak-no-cla'-di-um Clav-ar -la Flav'-a

Fairy Clubs and Coral Fungi-Clavariacea^

Branches - Round, not flattened; smooth, crowded, and nearly parallel, pointing upward. Whitish or yellowish, with pale yellow tips. Branchlets terminating in from one to three blunt, tooth-like points.

Stem - Short, thick, white.

Spores - Yellowish.

Flesh - White, tender.

Time - July to September.

Habitat - Thin woods and open places.

Golden Clavaria (Edible)

Clavaria aurea

The plant is from three to four inches high, with the branches of a uniform deep golden yellow, and often longitudinally wrinkled. The stem is stout, but thinner than the Clavaria /lava, which it somewhat resembles.

Red-tipped Clavaria (Edible)

Clavaria botrytes

Plant-From 2-5 inches high, whitish or yellow or pinkish, with the tips of the branches red. Branches - Sometimes longitudinally wrinkled, repeatedly branched. Stem - Short, thick, fleshy, whitish. Time - July to September. Habitat - Thin woods and open places.

Crested Clavaria (Edible)

Clavaria cristata

Plant - Small, not more than 2-2 1/2 inches high. White or whitish, often faintly tinged with dull pink, or creamy yellow, or smoky tints.

Branches - Widened and flattened above, and deeply cut into several finger-like points, which may turn blackish brown when old.

Stem - Slender, spongy within.

Spores - White.

Habitat - Woods and open places, especially in cool, shady, moist places.

Au'-rg-a B6-try'-tes Cris-ta'-tS

Golden Clavaria, (edible), (Clavaria aurea)

Golden Clavaria, (edible), (Clavaria aurea).

Pistil Clavaria; Large Club (Edible) Clavaria pistillaris

Of the club-shaped clavarias, the pistil clavaria is the largest. It is of a light yellow tinged with brown or red, and with soft white flesh. In shape it resembles an Indian club, being blunt and rounded at the summit, with a diameter of an inch or less, and a height of five inches or less. It is found during the summer in grassy open places or in thin woods.

Clavaria fellea

The clubs of this species are about one inch high, light yellow tinged with brown or red, somewhat divided by pairs from bottom to top into two forked branches. The stem is round and solid, and the branches are crowded and nearly parallel, with blunt tips, and of a uniform colour. The taste is bitter.

Clavaria formosa

The Clavaria formosa has a stout whitish stem, with erect branches, dividing and subdividing repeatedly, golden to pink, the branchlets obtuse. The specimen pictured grew on a fallen tree in dense mixed woods.

PIs'-til-la'-ris Fel'-le-a For-mo'-sa

Genus Clavaria 267