Appearanceruiting body a stalked (or rarely sessile) sporangium, gregarious to clustered, 1.0–1.5 mm tall. Sporotheca obovate, usually firmly united into clusters, erect, wine-red to dark maroon or sometimes nearly black, individual units 0.4–0.7 mm in diameter. Hypothallus membranous, contiguous for a group of sporangia, colourless to dark red. Peridium opaque, firm, shining, often with metallic reflections, dehiscence by a preformed dome-shaped operculum. Stalk solid, rather thick when supporting several sporothecae, brick red. Capillitium consisting of numerous long, free, rarely branched elaters, most of which are bent 180 degrees in the middle with the two halves coiled about one another, bearing three to five spiral bands and numerous spines 1–2 µm long, bright red to deep crimson, the tips blunt. Spores brownish red in mass, reddish orange by transmitted light, minutely warted, 9–11 µm in diameter. Plasmodium black but becoming deep red just prior to fruiting.
DistributionCommon and widely distributed in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphre and apparently less common in tropical regions and in the Southern Hemisphere.
HabitatDecaying wood or bark, particularly that from broadleaf trees; occasionally on dead leaves.
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