The fruit body is a very long and narrow stalk, up to 10 centimetres long (though often shorter) but no more than 2 millimetres wide. There may be a slight differentiation between a fertile head and a slightly narrower sterile stem, with the latter of variable length. Colours are whitish to tan.
The fruit bodies are found on leaf or twig litter in damp, sheltered habitats.
Macrotyphula juncea had long been considered a cosmopolitan species and the name has been used in Australia with a visual view thought to be sufficient for identification. However, several juncea-like species are found around the world, the differences being microscopic. In 1988 (R.H. Petersen, The Clavarioid Fungi of New Zealand) described a new juncea-like species, Macrotyphula defibulata. He said that amongst his herbarium’s specimens, previously named as Macrotyphula juncea, there was one from Victoria. On re-study it proved to be Macrotyphula defibulata. The very, very few reports of microscopic studies of Australian juncea specimens suggest that those specimens are of Macrotyphula defibulata. However, given the paucity of studies, perhaps more juncea-like species will be found in Australia.
Typhula fruit bodies are often simple stems, much longer than wide but mostly shorter than 3 centimetres. One exception is Typhula phacorrhiza (up to 12 centimetres long) which, some European works warn, can be confused with Macrotyphula juncea. The fruit body of Typhula phacorrhiza arises from a sclerotium, not the case for any species of Macrotyphula. A sclerotium is a ball-like mass of fungal tissue, with a brown to black skin. Some species of Typhula have sclerotia, some do not. The sclerotia are spherical to elongated and one to a few millimetres in length.
No juncea-like Typhula species has been found in Australia but, given that it is easy to miss these fruit bodies, who knows what we have.
Receive alerts when new sightings are reportedSubscribe