Fairy Fingers

In autumn, Fairy Fingers delicately probe their way through grassland and woodland litter.

Photo: Ryan Hornett CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific name: Clavaria fragilis (synonymous with C. vermicularis)

Other common names: White Worm Coral, White Spindles

What to look for:

Appearance: Small groups of white, slender, unbranched fruiting bodies, which are initially circular in cross-section, becoming flatter and grooved with age. The tip may also yellow with age. Up to 15 cm tall.
Spores: White spore print.
Where: Unimproved grassland, or woodland, across the Northern Hemisphere.
When: Autumn.
Similar species: Other Clavaria species.

In the damp autumn weather, clusters of ethereal ‘fairy fingers’ twist their way upwards on unimproved grasslands or among the fallen leaves in woodland. A fairly common species of club mushroom across Europe, Clavaria fragilis, as its scientific species name suggests, is brittle, easily breaking when handled. It is a saprobic species, meaning it gains its nourishment from dead or decaying organic matter.

Did you know…?

…Fairy Fingers are edible, but have very little flavour.

More information and references:

Buczacki, S., Shields, C., Ovenden, D., 2012. Collins Fungi Guide. Collins, London.

Published: October 2016
Author: Amanda Scott
Photos: Ryan Hornett CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons