|Major Groups > Puffballs > Daldinia childiae|
by Michael Kuo
Widespread in North America and very commonly encountered (at least, east of the Rocky Mountains), Daldinia childiae is fairly easily recognized. Its small, tough fruiting bodies are shaped more or less like a ball, and feature a crust-like, brown to black outer surface. When sliced open, the carbon-like flesh is concentrically zoned with alternating bands of whitish to grayish and black. Daldinia childiae appears on decaying logs, fruiting directly from the wood.
Your North American field guide is likely to call the mushroom featured here "Daldinia concentrica," but the true Daldinia concentrica is a European species partial to the wood of European species of ash, and is either absent in North America or extremely rare. Its crusty outer surface releases purple pigments when ground up and soaked in KOH, while the crust of Daldinia childiae releases brown pigments.
Thanks to Cecily Franklin for collecting, documenting, and preserving Daldinia childiae for study; her collection is deposited in The Herbarium of Michael Kuo.
Ecology: Saprobic on decaying hardwood logs and, infrequently, conifer logs; growing alone or gregariously, directly from the wood; spring through fall (or over winter in warm climates)—but the tough fruiting bodies often last over winter; widely distributed in North America, but especially common east of the Rocky Mountains. The illustrated and described collections are from Illinois, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
Fruiting Body: 7–32 mm across; 10–20 mm tall; shaped more or less like a ball, cushion, or pear; sometimes featuring a poorly defined pseudostem; surface hard, smooth at first, becoming pimply, pinkish brown, reddish brown, dark brown or, eventually, nearly black; interior with concentric zones of blackish and whitish or grayish, carbon-like flesh; outer layer at maturity with embedded black perithecia.
Odor: Not distinctive.
Microscopic Features: Spores 12–18 x 6–8 µm; ellipsoid, with a somewhat flattened side, or widely subfusiform; with a thin, straight germ slit extending most of the length of the spore; smooth; very dark brown in KOH; with a brownish to hyaline, loosening perispore. Asci 8-spored.
REFERENCES: J. D. Rogers & Y. -M. Ju, 1999. (Whalley & Watling, 1980; Rogers et al., 1999; Stadler et al., 2014; Khalil et al., 2015; Woehrel & Light, 2017.) Herb. Kuo 03100703, 07130806, 05041401, 06021805, 08061801.
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Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2019, October). Daldinia childiae. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/daldinia_childiae.html