Crown-tipped Coral Fungus

Posted on in Recent Sightings by Hawk Mountain

Crown-tipped Coral Fungus Growing on a Log

Seeing this organism in the woods might prompt nature enthusiasts to do a double-take; after all, the Crown-tipped Coral Fungus (Artomyces pyxidatus) looks more like something you see while snorkeling, not on a hike! This land-dwelling “sea creature” is a coral mushroom, a genus of fungi appropriately named for their resemblance to ocean corals. It grows on decaying wood, especially downed aspen, oak, and poplar trees. Young crown-tipped coral fungi are bright white and darken to a more cream or tan color with age. At the end of each branching tip there is a small “crown” formation. They are native to most of eastern North America and are edible but do your research before consuming wild mushrooms. There are many species of fungi that look similar, and a misidentification could prove detrimental to your health. When in doubt, spit it out! 

Photo by Caroline Fegley.