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Thelephora vialis

by Michael Kuo, 16 October 2022

Associated with oaks, Thelephora vialis is widely distributed east of the Great Plains. It develops a vase-shaped fruiting body composed of thin lobes that are vaguely spiraling in arrangement. The upper surfaces are whitish and dull yellow, but the outer surface—where the hymenium is located—is lavender gray to brown, and becomes finely pimply with maturity.

Compare Thelephora vialis with Thelephora terrestris and Thelephora americana, both of which have darker colors and, under the microscope, spiny rather than nodulose spores (additionally, Thelephora terrestris is associated with conifers). Podoscypha aculeata is somewhat similar, but its hymenium does not become dark and its spores are very different.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with oaks; growing alone or gregariously, on the ground; summer and fall; originally described from North Carolina (Schweinitz 1821); widely distributed east of the Great Plains and in Mexico. The illustrated and described collection is from Ohio.

Fruiting Body: A vase-shaped structure 5–10 cm across and 3–8 cm high, with vaguely concentric, spiraling lobes arranged in a rosette.

Lobes: Becoming flattened toward the edges with development; upper surface radially wrinkled, bald, white and dull yellow; outer/under surface slightly wrinkled, becoming finely pimply from the base upwards with age, bald, lavender gray to brownish gray or brown below, grayish yellow above.

Stems: Hard to define precisely, but generally about 2–3 cm high and up to 0.5 cm thick; tough; dark gray to blackish brown; united with other stems; basal mycelium white and copious.

Flesh: Stringy; fairly tough; whitish; unchanging when sliced.

Odor: Slightly foul.

Chemical Reactions: KOH dark green on outer surface. Iron salts negative on outer surface.

Microscopic Features: Spores 5–7 x 4–6 µm; ellipsoid-irregular; nodulose; hyaline in KOH. Basidia 30–40 x 4–6 µm; clavate; 4-sterigmate. Cystidia not found. Hyphae of the hymenium 3–5 µm wide; smooth; thin-walled; hyaline in KOH. Clamp connections present.

REFERENCES: L. D. von Schweinitz, 1821. (Burt, 1914; Coker, 1921; Corner, 1968; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Stalpers, 1993; Woehrel & Light, 2017; Sturgeon, 2018.) Herb. Kuo 07162202.

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Thelephora vialis

Thelephora vialis

Thelephora vialis

Thelephora vialis

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Kuo, M. (2022, October). Thelephora vialis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: