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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

30 January, 2016

Xylaria hypoxylon: the candle snuff fungus



I suppose that when we think of fungi we immediately have in our mind a picture of the classic mushroom shape; a round cap resting on a short stipe. Many fungi are, indeed, that shape, hence the nick-name of toadstool because they look like a stool and one that is low enough for a toad to sit on! In reality fungi fruiting bodies take various forms and this one, commonly known as candle snuff (Xylaria hypoxylon), is certainly living proof of that. It is easy to see why it is called candle-snuff because it does have the appearance of a burnt candle wick and, when a few days old, it can be quite powdery too, just like candle snuff. 
This is a very common species that can be found all year on dead wood, especially conifer stumps, but it is quite small and easily overlooked unless you take time to inspect any dead branches and tree stumps that you encounter.
It is not edible of course, it is too powdery and not big enough to justify making a meal out of it.
Xylaria hypoxylon: the candle snuff fungus