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Perithecial stromata of Xylaria hypoxylon on dead wood

The  stromata are formed early in the year click here.   These   are 2-7 cm high, flattened, tough, with antler-like branching. Branches are black with white tips.  The white powder at the tips is the asexual spore state for summer dispersal.  The sexual state of this fungus seen here is found later in the year and forms black, slender, pimply, often unbranched stalks. Widespread and common, this fungus fruits on or around dead wood.

The sexual state produces thick-walled spores that help the fungus survive difficult times such as winter and drought.

 

   Micrograph from MycoAlbum CD