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Small, upright stroma 2 to 8 mm in diameter at the base and typically 3 to 5 cm tall, usually in masses. Some are simple spikes, but most branch like antlers. Initially black and finely downy near the sterile base and white with conidia towards the tips, the whole of the fruitbody eventually blackens as the ascospores ripen within asci that develop within flask-like perithecia embedded in the surface.
Xylaria hypoxylon is found throughout Europe and in many parts of North America. It is saprobic, growing on fallen branches and rotting stumps of broad-leaf trees, very occasionally on pine stumps. Candlesnuff fungus specialises in consuming neither the softish cellulose nor the much tougher lignin but rather the polysaccharides - glucan and other minority content compounds of timber that bind the cellulose and lignin together to form what we recognise as wood. As a result, when these and various other ascomycetous fungi have consumed what they can of a dead stump the remainder is a nutrient-rich soft mess that insects and other small creatures are able to feed upon.
Spotted in Kroondomein Het Loo in rural area of Apeldoorn, Holland.(sources:see reference)
Spotted on Oct 21, 2019
Submitted on Jan 11, 2020