Purple Fairy Club

Purple Fairy Club, Vancouver Island, BC
Purple Fairy Club, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Purple Fairy Club with its dull purple colors and densely packed, non-branching fruiting bodies is distinctive enough that you will probably not need to use a microscope or a DNA sequencer to identify the mushroom successfully.

Traditionally presumed to be saprobic but new studies suggest the possibility that it is associated with mosses, I wonder whether it might be associated with spruces as I always see them growing in tight clusters in conifer forests that contain lots of spruce trees.  They are widely distributed in northern, montane, and western North America. I see them quite often on Vancouver Island.

They can reach heights of up to 15 cm high and are up to 6 mm wide, they are spindle-shaped, unbranched, sometimes somewhat flattened, or with a groove or a twist, and very pretty to the eye. At one time it was known as clavaria purpurea,  it has now been moved to its own genus as a result of phylogenetic analysis, it is now officially known as alloclavaria puppurea.

Purple Fairy Club, Vancouver Island, BC 
Purple Fairy Club, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

When you out walking in a dark mossy forest, keep your eyes on the lookout for this purple beauty. I don’t often see it, but my last sighting, just last fall, I had the pleasure of seeing a huge grouping of them alongside a trail in Sayward BC. There were fairy clubs coming up on both sides of the trail for about 50 meters, it was such a wonder.

Although this is an edible mushroom, it has a dull fishy flavor and is not very tasty, I would just enjoy any sighting you see, take some photos, and leave it in the ground.

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