Carbon Antler Fungi, BC Coastal Region
The Carbon Antler Fungi is a commonly seen fungus on the BC coast. This slender, erect, gray to black fungi often branches near its tips but can also be just a wavy stub like a semi melted candle stick, hence its common name, candlesnuff fungus.
While you can’t eat this fibrous fungus, you can still enjoy its unusual form that reminds some of an extinguished candle. If you look around, when you are in the woods of Vancouver Island, you will see these little, beautiful fungi everywhere.
Carbon antler is part of a larger group of fungi called the flask fungi. These fungi are so named because the spores are in microscopic flask shaped spore sacs, complete with narrowed necks, that are lodged within the mushrooms fruiting body.
Carbon antler can be found through out the Pacific Northwest and on all of Vancouver Island. It grows in a variety of habitats and can be found scattered or in groups on old rotting logs and woody debris.
It is said that there is more life in a dead tree than a living one. In a living tree there are around 10 percent living cells by volume. However, in a dead tree, there can be as much as 40 percent, largely made up of fungi, nitrogen fixing bacteria and the lichens, moss’s and insects that help break down the wood, all of which are crucial to the health of the forest. As the wood gets broken down, it releases carbon and nitrogen along with many other nutrients back into the environment. These little gems are just awesome to see in the wild, so very beautiful.