Crested Coral Mushroom

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Crested Coral, Vancouver Island, BC
Crested Coral, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

The crested coral fungus (Clavulina Cristatais) is probably the most commonly encountered of the many coral-like fungi in the Pacific Northwest, it is easily spotted when it grows along woodland trails. Common and widespread in woods and occasionally in grassland here on the coast, as indeed it is in other parts of the pacific northwest, It is also recorded in many other temperate parts of the world. It’s a common mushroom.

The fused branches rise up from a base that is up to 7 cm tall. The tips of this white to cream coral fungus can turn brown with age. Sometimes this coral will turn grey or even black when attacked by microfungi, making identification more confusing. But as most do not eat it, it’s not too big of a concern.

The spore print is white. Its odor is not distinctive and the taste is mild to bland. Crested coral can be found singly or in small groups on the ground beneath deciduous and coniferous trees, very often beside forest trails. Look for them from August to December. Although considered edible, crested coral is so flavorless that it is not generally collected for food.

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