Major Groups > Clubs & Corals > Clavaria fuscata


Clavaria fuscata

[ Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Clavariaceae > Clavaria . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This little fungus is rarely encountered, to judge from collections records at North America's major herbaria. It is a skinny, whitish club fungus found under hardwoods in eastern North America, hardly noticeable unless you are really scouring the forest floor for mushrooms. Clavaria fuscata is so skinny that it looks a lot like the more common Macrotyphula juncea, but it is a bit shorter and, amazingly, it smells strongly of garlic (additional differences can be discerned under the microscope).

The garlic odor of Clavaria fuscata is strong enough to make you notice when collecting fresh specimens—and I have just discovered that dried specimens, rehydrated after four years in my herbarium, have filled my lab with garlic odor.

Clavaria fuscata is originally a European species; whether or not our North American version is actually the same is unclear. George Atkinson (1908) named Clavaria foetida for its garlic odor, basing his description on North American material (from Ithaca, NY), and his description matches the mushrooms described and illustrated here very well—but later authors (Coker 1923 and Corner 1950) synonymized Atkinson's species with Clavaria fuscata based on morphological analysis.


Ecology: Uncertain; terrestrial; found in hardwood forests; growing alone or gregariously; summer and fall; probably widely distributed in eastern North America; rare. The illustrated and described collection is from Illinois.

Fruiting Body: 2–8.5 cm high and 0.5–1.5 mm wide; cylindric; apex rounded or slightly narrowed; bald; dry; whitish to creamy yellowish above, but translucent whitish toward the base.

Flesh: Thin; whitish.

Odor and Taste: Odor fairly strongly of garlic, especially when the flesh is crushed; taste similar.

Spore Print: Reported as white by Corner (1950).

Microscopic Features: Spores 8–12 x 6–8 µm; ellipsoid to broadly ellipsoid; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia clavate; 2-sterigmate. Hymenial cystidia not found. Clamp connections not found.

REFERENCES: Oudemans, 1884. (Saccardo, 1888; Atkinson, 1908; Burt, 1922; Coker, 1923; Corner, 1950.) Herb. Kuo 07021302.

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Clavaria fuscata

Clavaria fuscata

Clavaria fuscata

Clavaria fuscata

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Kuo, M. (2017, September). Clavaria fuscata. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: