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Clavaria vermicularis

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Clavariaceae > Clavaria . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Little clumps of wiggling white worms . . .

Clavaria vermicularis is common and fairly easily recognized; it is translucent white, 3-12 cm high, and grows in small clumps or clusters. The little mushrooms are cylindrical, and do not usually branch. They are so brittle and fragile that picking them is quite a challenge. Other similar club mushrooms are differently colored, though one look-alike has been separated on microscopic features: Clavaria atkinsoniana is a very similar species with larger spores (8.5-10 x 4.5-5 µ); it is found in the central and southeastern United States, and is apparently rare.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing in clusters, often with with fused bases--or occasionally growing gregariously; found in woods under hardwoods or conifers, especially in moss and in moist areas; summer and fall, or over winter in California; widely distributed in North America.

Fruiting Body: 3-12 cm high; 1-5 mm wide; cylindrical and unbranched--or occasionally developing a few branches at the tip; sometimes flattened or grooved; dry or moist; white or translucent; often curved; usually with a somewhat pointed tip that discolors yellowish or pale brownish.

Flesh: White; thin.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Spore Print: White.

Chemical Reactions: Irons salts negative on all surfaces. KOH negative on all surfaces.

Microscopic Features: Spores 4.5-7 x 2.5-4 µ; ellipsoid; smooth; with an apiculus. Basidia clavate; 30-45 x 6-8 µ; 4-sterigmate; not basally clamped. Clamp connections absent.

REFERENCES: (Swartz, 1811) Fries, 1821. (Coker, 1923 [C. vermiculata]; Corner, 1950; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Metzler & Metzler, 1992; Barron, 1999; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009.) Herb. Kuo 06200302, 06010406, 07070706, 06111001.

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


Clavaria vermicularis
(Enlarge to see Humaria hemisphaerica in the foreground.)

Clavaria vermicularis

Clavaria vermicularis

Clavaria vermicularis

Illustration from Coker (1923), courtesy of the University of North Carolina Press:

Clavulina cristata

Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2007, April). Clavaria vermicularis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site:

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