Coral-like fungi

The coral fungi have fruiting bodies made up of upright, narrow branches. Sometimes a single branch, sometimes multi-branched. Variable in colour, some brightly coloured, some dull, others white. Some have tough flesh (e.g. Aphelaria), but most are delicate. Most species are saprobic, but the robust, highly-branched Ramaria is mycorrhizal with beech and tea-tree. There are more than 100 species of coral fungi in New Zealand, in more than 10 genera. Only 4 of New Zealand's genera are treated here - Artomyces (also known as Clavicorona) is on wood, Aphelaria, Clavaria, and Ramaria are on soil. Other genera found on soil include Clavulina (similar to Clavaria, but with 2-spored basidia, about 20 species), Ramariopsis (similar to Clavaria, differing microscopically, more than 20 species), Macrotyphula (unbranched, very narrow less than 2 mm wide, 3 species), Scytinopogon (branched, robust, always white, similar to Ramaria but with white rather than brown spores, 3 species), and Tremellodendropsis (highly branched, with narrow branches, about 5 species). Others found on wood include Lentaria (2 species), Multiclavula (3 species), and Pterula. Deflexula is also on wood, but rather than being upright, the branches of this genus always hang down. Some jelly fungi with upright fruiting bodies can look similar (e.g. Calocera), but these always have a tough, rubbery or elastic texture.


NameImageDescriptionNZFungi Entry


Pyxidately branched fruiting-bodies, ending in a small crown of pointed branches. Flesh soft, easily crushed. Always on wood. Often reported as Clavicorona in the New Zealand literature.
Five species have been reported from New Zealand, although only A. turgidis is common.


Unbranched thin, soft-fleshed clubs, up to about 5 cm high. Variable in colour, from white to yellow, to salmon, to dark grey. Always on the soil, either solitary or in small clumps. Clavaria zollingeri is an exception, having branching clubs, resembling Ramaria and some Ramariopsis species which need to be distinguished using microscopic features. Saprobic on soil.


Large, robust, multi-branched fruiting bodies, variable in colour, and colours often differing between the base and the tips. Ectomycorrhizal under tea-tree and Nothofagus. Unusual amongst the coral fungi in having brown spores.
More than 20 species have been reported from New Zealand, all indigenous and several endemic.


Tough, coral-like fungus with white, narrow, highly branched fruiting body. Saprobic on soil.
At least 3 species reported from New Zealand.