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Thelephora multipartita

[ Basidiomycota > Thelephorales > Thelephoraceae > Thelephora ... ]

by Michael Kuo

Thelephora multipartita looks to the naked eye more or less like many other Thelephora species: it is a small, dark, fan-shaped, coral-like mushroom featuring multiple branches that often flatten out with maturity. The species hangs out primarily under hardwoods, doesn't feature a notable odor, has relatively small spores, and does not blue (much) in KOH mounts. These features, along with the fact that the fan-shaped structures of its cap tend to split apart, will help to separate Thelephora multipartita from most look-alikes. Thelephora anthocephala is very similar, however, and also associates with hardwoods; its larger spores are the best feature for separating it.

Thelephora species are currently defined on the basis of species concepts from the heyday of micro-morphology (primarily Corner, 1968). The few DNA studies that have been focused on the genus at the species-level (e.g. Ramírez-López et al., 2015) reveal the potential for hidden species and significant variability in morphological features within species in the genus.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with oaks and other hardwoods--and perhaps, occasionally, with conifers; growing alone, gregariously, or in small clusters on the ground in soil or in moss; late spring through fall (and over winter in warmer climates); widely distributed in North America. The illustrated and described collections are from Illinois.

Fruiting Body: Quite variable, but generally a vase-shaped structure 2-4 cm high, with a short stem and a head that develops into a rosette or fan.

Head: At first a simple vase-shaped, inverted cone; the inner wall extending additional surfaces with development, with additional "vases" arising to form a rosette-like structure 2-4 cm across; individual components often beginning as cylindric or flattened branches (or sometimes with acute, sharpened apices) that become more flattened with development and often separate radially; outer (lower) surfaces bald, black to dark gray, lilac gray, or brownish, paler at the margin, sometimes becoming wrinkled and/or pimply; inner (upper) surfaces gray to brown, paler at the margin, radially wrinkled and finely fibrillose.

Stem: Confluent with outer surface of head; 0.5-2 cm high; 2-3 mm thick; tough; dark gray to black.

Flesh: Stringy and very tough; gray to grayish brown.

Odor: Not distinctive, or occasionally slightly foul.

Chemical Reactions: KOH instantly black on all surfaces and flesh.

Spore Print: I have not documented the spore print; probably brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 6-8 x 4-6 µ (excluding ornamentation); angular and lobed; covered with spines that extend 0.5-1.5 µ; ochraceous to brownish in KOH. Basidia 2- and 4-sterigmate; 50-70 x 7-10 µ; clavate to widely clavate; basally clamped. Subhymenium sometimes bluing faintly in KOH. Tramal hyphae cylindric; 3-5 µ wide; walls smooth and hyaline to brownish in KOH; often clamped at septa.

REFERENCES: Schweinitz, 1828 in Fries. (Saccardo, 1888; Corner, 1968; Stalpers, 1993.) Herb. Kuo 06030402, 08050306, 07030703, 06180802, 06280803, 06161101, 06121304.

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Thelephora multipartita

Thelephora multipartita

Thelephora multipartita

Thelephora multipartita

Thelephora multipartita

Thelephora multipartita

Thelephora multipartita
Tramal hyphae

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Kuo, M. (2015, December). Thelephora multipartita. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: