AppearanceFruit bodies, which are generally white- to cream-colored, can be up to 8 centimetres tall, and 2–4 cm broad. The coral "arms" are sparingly branched , 2–4 mm wide, smooth, and sometimes wrinkled longitudinally. The tips are cristate, having small pointed projections, and will often darken with age or in dry weather. The fruit bodies have no distinctive odor, and a mild taste.
The fruit bodies may have a darker color either due to natural variation or because of infection by a microscopic fungus, ''Helminthosphaeria clavariarum''.
NamingThe commonly used species name ''cristata'' was coined in 1790 by Danish mycologist Theodor Holmskjold . However, Linnaeus described apparently the same fungus as ''Clavaria coralloides'' in Species plantarum in 1753. Therefore according to the ''International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants'', the name ''Clavulina coralloides'' should be used in preference to ''Clavulina cristata'', although the latter name is in more common use.
Habitat''Clavulina cristata'' is found growing solitary or in clusters on the ground in both coniferous and hardwood forests. It is a common mushroom, and typically fruits from late summer to winter.
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