Clavaria argillacea Pers. - Moor Club

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Agarcales - Family: Clavariaceae

Clavaria argillacea, Moor Club

Initially looking very much like pallid specimens of Golden Spindles Clavulinopsis fusiformis, with which they could easily be confused, the fruitbodies of Moor Club soon become clavate.

Distribution

Widespread in Britain and Ireland but not very common, the Moor Club occurs in many countries on mainland Europe including Denmark, Germany, Holland, France and Czechoslovakia. This species has also been reported from North America and from Australia, although concern has been expressed that the latter might be a case of misidentification.

The pictures shown on this page were taken in Scotland.

Taxonomic history

Moor Club (in the past also referred to as Field Club) was first described scientifically in 1797 by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon, who gave this club fungus what remains its generally-accepted scientific name Clavaria argillaceae. The name was retained by Elias Fries in his Systema mycologicum (1821–1832).

Synonyms of Clavaria argillacea include Geoglossum argillaceum (Pers.) Fr.

Etymology

Clavaria, the genus name, means club-like, while the specific epithet argillacea is derived from the Latin noun argilla, meaning white clay.

Identification Guide

Moor Club

Dull pale yellow, initially with sharpish tips that become more rounded and swollen to form a clavate fruitbody with a darker short sterile stem that is usually visible at the base; occasionally branching but most often not. Either solitary or with a few spaced fruitbodies; occasionally in small tufts

The very variable fruitbodies are usually 2 to 8cm tall (very occasionally to 15cm tall) and 24 to 10mm across their major diameter.

 

Spores

Elongated ellipsoidal to cylindrical, smooth, 9-13 x 4.5-5.5µm.

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

In acidic soil usually with mosses and always near to ericaceous plants, notably Common Heather Calluna vulgaris, with which it probably forms some kind of mutual relationship, possibly mycorrhizal.

Season

September to November in Britain and Ireland.

Occurrence

Uncommon in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

Clavulinopsis fusiformis has unbranched pointed spindles, usually in dense tufts. Its spores are broadly ellipsoidal.

Clavulinopsis laeticolor is rarely tufted and either spindle-shaped or narrowly clavate. Its spores are almost spherical.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Henrici, A. (2003). Notes and records. Field Mycology. 4(2): 65-67 (BMS).

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Alan Inman.

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