Xylaria longipes

Xylaria longipes
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
Class: Sordariomycetes
Subclass: Xylariomycetidae
Order: Xylariales
Family: Xylariaceae
Genus: Xylaria
Species: X. longipes
Binomial name
Xylaria longipes
Nitschke 1867

Xylosphaera longipes (Nitschke) Dennis 1958

Xylaria longipes, commonly known as dead moll's fingers, is a species of fungus in the family Xylariaceae.


Xylaria longipes was first described by the German botanist and mycologist Theodor Rudolph Joseph Nitschke in the first volume of his Pyrenomycetes Germanici, published in 1867. He gave it the name by which it is currently known.[1] Xylaria is from the Latin xulon, meaning "wood", and aria, meaning "pertaining to", while longipes is from longus, meaning "long", and pes, meaning "foot". The specific name is in reference to the long stem, which is one of the distinguishing features in contrast to Xylaria polymorpha (dead man's fingers).[2] In 1958, the English mycologist and plant pathologist R. W. G. Dennis coined the binomial Xylosphaera longipes, resurrecting the Belgian botanist and politician Barthélemy Charles Joseph Dumortier's 1822 genus Xylosphaera.[3] However, the mycological databases MycoBank and Index Fungorum reject Dennis's name, preferring Nitscke's.[4][5]

The variety Xylaria longipes var. tropica was described from Mexico in 1989 by Felipe San Martín González and Jack D. Rogers;[6] this is listed on Index Fungorum as synonymous with the nominate variety,[4] but is listed as taxonomically independent on MycoBank.[7] The species is commonly known as "dead moll's fingers".[8]


The species has a roughly club-shaped fruit body measuring from 2 to 8 centimetres (0.79 to 3.1 in) in height, and reaching a thickness of up to 2 centimetres (0.79 in). The top is rounded, while the stem can be fairly long (though is sometimes almost entirely lacking). The colour of the body's surface varies with age; younger specimens fairly gray or fairly brown, but they darken with age, becoming black. As the fruit body ages, the surface cracks and develops scales.[9] X. longipes differs from the similar Xylaria polymorpha (dead man's fingers) by being somewhat more slender,[8] by having a more distinct stalk,[10] and by its smaller spores. While X. longipes has spores measuring 12 to 16 by 5 to 7 micrometres (μm), the spores of X. polymorpha measure 20 to 32 by 5 to 9 μm.[8] The spindle-shaped spores of X. longipes have a smooth surface but for germ slits.[9]

Distribution and habitat

This fungus is known from Europe,[8] Asia,[11] and North America.[10] It is a saprotroph, growing directly from dead wood from hardwoods,[9] including both fallen branches and stumps.[8] It causes soft rot in its host.[9] In Europe, it favours the wood of sycamores,[8] while collections in North America have favoured the wood of maples and beeches.[12] The species can grow singly or in groups,[9] and is more likely to grow singly than X polymorpha.[10]


X. longipes is inedible,[8] but a 2008 study concluded that the species could improve wood for the purposes of making violins.[13] A number of chemicals have been derived from the fungus, including the antifungal xylaramide, the antioxidant tyrosol,[14] and a derivative of the antifungal compound sordarin, a chemical first isolated from Sordaria araneosa.[15]


  1. Nitschke TRJ (1867). Pyrenomycetes Germanici (in German and Latin). 1. Breslau: Eduard Trewendt. p. 14.
  2. Wright J (2014). The Naming of the Shrew: A Curious History of Latin Names. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781408820353.
  3. Dennis RWG (1958). "Xylaria versus Hypoxylon and Xylosphaera". Kew Bulletin. 13 (1): 101–6. doi:10.2307/4117630.
  4. 1 2 "Xylaria longipes synonymy". Index Fungorum. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  5. "Xylaria longipes". MycoBank. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  6. González FSM, Rogers JD (1989). "A preliminary account of Xylaria of Mexico" (PDF). Mycotaxon. 34 (2): 283–373.
  7. "Xylaria longipes var. tropica". MycoBank. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Phillips R (2013). Mushrooms: A Comprehensive Guide to Mushroom Identification. London: Pan Macmillan. p. 371. ISBN 9781447264026.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 Kuo M (October 2008). "Xylaria longipes". MushroomExpert.com. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  10. 1 2 3 Roody WC (2015). Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. p. 418. ISBN 9780813156576.
  11. Corner EJH (1988). "Higher fungi". In Earl of Cranbrook. Key Environments: Malaysia. Oxford: Pergamon Press. pp. 88–101. ISBN 9781483285986.
  12. Rogers JD (1983). "Xylaria bulbosa, Xylaria curta, and Xylaria longipes in Continental United States". Mycologia. 75 (3): 457–67. doi:10.2307/3792687.
  13. Schwarze FWMR, Spycher M, Fink S (2008). "Superior wood for violins – wood decay fungi as a substitute for cold climate". New Phytologist. 179 (4): 1095–1104. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02524.x.
  14. Schneider G, Anke H, Sterner O (1996). "Xylaramide, a new antifungal compound, and other secondary metabolites from Xylaria longipes". Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C. 51 (11-2): 802–6. doi:10.1515/znc-1996-11-1206.
  15. Daferner M, Mensch S, Anke T, Sterner O (1999). "Hypoxysordarin, a new sordarin derivative from Hypoxylon croceum". Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C. 54 (7–8): 474–80. doi:10.1515/znc-1999-7-803.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.