The Carbon Antler Fungi is a commonly seen fungus in the Pacific Northwest. This slender, erect, gray to black fungi often branches near its tips but can also be just a wavy stub like a semi-melted candlestick, hence its common name, candle snuff 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 throughout 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. These little gems are just awesome to see in the wild, so very beautiful.
It is said that there is more life in a dead tree than in a living one. In a living tree, there is around 10 percent of 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.