Am. Midl. Nat. 77: 216. 1967.
Common Name: none
Synonyms: Clavaria vernalis Schwein.; Clavulinopsis vernalis (Schwein.) Corner
Misapplied name: Multiclavula mucida (Pers.) R. H. Peterson
Fruiting body 0.5-1.0 cm tall, 0.75-1.0 mm thick, a simple, erect, strand, only occasionally branched, straight or with a basal bend, equal to tapering to a slightly enlarged apex; upper two-thirds fertile, glabrous, oval in cross-section, cream-buff to pale orange-buff, tips in age or on drying brown; sterile lower portion scarcely distinct from fertile area, usually pallid to white, with occasional sparse hairs; context pliant, solid to stuffed, cream-colored, incorporating clumps of algal cells; odor and taste mild.
Spores 8-10 x 3-4 µm, oblong-ellipsoid, thin-walled, smooth, inamyloid, with variously sized vacuoles; spore print not seen.
Gregarious, sometimes forming large colonies on algae covered banks; fruiting from mid to late winter.
Unknown; too small to have any culinary value.
Multiclavula vernalis is one of a relatively small number of lichen-forming basidiomycetes, i.e. fungi that incorporate cells of a green alga within their tissues. These cells are found throughout the fruiting body but are concentrated in the cortical region of the sterile base, though not in sufficient numbers to give the fruiting body a greenish tinge. This is among the smallest of California coral fungi. It is recognized by a slender, usually unbranched, cream-buff fruiting body. Macrotyphula juncea is somewhat similar but grows on the leaves of tanbark oak (Lithocarpus densiflora) and redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). While unrelated, species of Mucronella, a genus of tooth fungi, have fruiting bodies that bear a resemblance, but are pendulous not erect.
Coker, W.C. (1974). The Club and Coral Mushrooms (Clavarias) of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications, Inc: New York, NY. 209 p.
Corner, E.J.H. (1950). A Monograph of Clavaria and Allied Genera. Oxford University Press: London, England. 740 p.
Corner, E.J.H. (1970). Supplement to "A Monograph of Clavaria and Allied Genera". Beih. Nova Hedw. 53: 1-299.
Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M.G. & Stevens, F.A. (2015). California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR. 560 p.
Doty, M.S. (1944). Clavaria, the Species Known form Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State College: Corvallis, OR. 91 p.
Petersen, R. H. (1967). Notes on Clavarioid Fungi. VII. Redefinition of the Clavaria vernalis - C. mucida Complex. American Midland Naturalist 77(1): 205-221.