Scientific name: Hypoxylon fragiforme (Pers.) J.
Derivation of name: Fragiforme means "strawberrylike"
in reference to the appearance of this fungus.
Common name(s): Red cushion Hypoxylon.
Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic; in clusters on
the bark of dead beech (Fagus) trees; July through
Dimensions: Fruit bodies are 3-16 mm wide and nearly
Description: Fruit bodies are grayish-white at first,
becoming salmon-pink and then brick-red at maturity and
finally brownish-black when overmature. The surface is
minutely bumpy (pimple-dotted) at maturity. The bumps
are the openings of
ascospore-forming structures called
perithecia embedded just below the surface. The interior
flesh is black and hard.
Comments: There are a number of Hypoxylon species in
the area. Some form hemispherical fruit bodies similar to
Hypoxylon fragiforme. Others are more crusty in
appearance. The rounded shape, red brick coloration, and
occurrence on beech are important field identification
More information at RogersMushrooms.com:
Figure 1. Fruit bodies of Hypoxylon fragiforme on a dead
beech (Fagus grandifolia) branch. Note the beech leaf
under the branch.
Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 2. Beech is the only known substrate for
Hypoxylon fragiforme. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 3. Hypoxylon fragiforme. Photo © John Dawson.
Figure 4. Note the bumpy surface projections of the underlying
perithecia. Photo © Dianna Smith.
Figure 5. The interior is composed of black, hard flesh. The
perithecia are just below the surface. Photo © Gary