Scientific name: Xylaria hypoxylon (L.) Grev.
Derivation of name: Hypo- means "below" or "under" and
xylon refers to "wood."
Synonyms: Xylosphaera hypoxylon
Common name(s): Candlesnuff fungus
Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic; clustered on
or near decaying hardwood; June through August.
Dimensions: These ascocarps may be up to 8 cm tall.
Description: Fruiting body usually has slender black branches
with antler-like white tips. When found in
the spring, the entire
ascocarp may be white to grayish and powdery as a
the formation of asexual spores. Later in the season, mature
blackish and minutely pimply. The small bumps are
locations of sexual spore producing structures called
perithecia. The perithecia are embedded in a tough white
flesh called the stroma.
Edibility: Not edible.
Comments: This Xylaria species is usually more distinctly
branched than is X. polymorpha and the
stalks and branches
are thinner, more slender. Barron states that the black,
pimply sexual stage of Xylaria hypoxylon typically occurs as
Figure 1. Appearance of slender, branched fruit bodies on
deaying wood. Photo © Steve Nelsen
White conidial stage. Photo © David Work.
Figure 3. A closer look at the conidial stage. Photo © David
Figure 4. Fruit bodies with white tips.
Photo © Steve Nelsen.
Figure 5. The small dark bumps are the locations of the
perithecia. Photo © Roz Lowen.
Figure 6. Entirely black sexual
stage of Xylaria hypoxylon.
Photo © George Barron.