Hypoxylon fragiforme

Scientific name:   Hypoxylon fragiforme (Pers.) J.
Derivation of name:  Fragiforme means "strawberrylike"
in reference to the appearance of this fungus.
SynonymsSphaeria fragiformis Pers. 
Common name(s):  Red cushion hypoxylon.
Phylum:   Ascomycota
Order:   Xylariales
Family:   Hypoxylaceae
Occurrence on wood substrate:  Saprobic; in clusters
typically on the bark of dead beech (Fagus) trees; July
through November, overwinters.  
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: Hypoxylon fragiforme may be confused with
Hypoxylon howeianum, a species typically growing on trees
other than beech. However, the two species may occur
together on beech and certainty of identification will require
ascospore measurements.

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. Hypoxylon fragiforme on beech. The rounded
shape, red brick coloration, and occurrence on beech are
important field identification characteristics.
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


Home | Shape key | Glossary

This page © 2008 by Gary Emberger, Messiah College