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Xylaria  hypoxylon          Candlesnuff

Sometimes called Carbon Antlers, this species is not usually very photogenic.   So, I was pleased to find this rather elegant group of Xylaria hypoxylon on a mossy log.  The staghorn branching is typical of the species although some unbranched "stroma" can be seen at the left edge. The "summer" dispersal spores appear as a white powdery deposit on the upper parts of the branches.  These spores are referred to as "conidia" in the technical jargon of mycology.  This just means that they are asexual spores (= mitospores) helping to spread the fungus to new sites during the growing season.  The persistent sexual spores (= ascospores or meiospores) are produced in tiny fruitbodies (perithecia) embedded in the  black stroma.