Pink Coral Fungus
Ramaria formosa - Quelet
Gomphaceae (Coral Fungus) Family
Photo Courtesy E. O. Wilson Nature Adventure Park, Brewton, Alabama
By permission Steve Layton, October 2017
This particular coral mushroom is distinctive and gorgeous--if you can catch it early in its development, before its colors have lost their glory and, with the maturation of spores, morphed into that wishy-washy, orangish-yellowish tan color that characterizes most species of Ramaria in old age. When young, however, Ramaria formosa has coral pink branches that contrast nicely with the clear yellow tips of the branches. Other distinguishing features include the fleshy, softish base and, under the microscope, clamp connections and roughened spores.
Ecology: Mycorrhizal with hardwoods (occasionally with conifers); growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; summer and fall; apparently widely distributed in North America.
The fruiting Body is upward to 8 inches high and about 6 inches wide.
Branches are vertically oriented; smooth or wrinkled; coral pink when young and fresh, becoming pinkish, then orangish to yellowish tan with age; tips are clear yellow, becoming orangish to yellowish tan.
Te base is variable--sometimes insubstantial, but usually well developed beneath main branches, which are separated so that at maturity the coral appears to be a cluster of smaller corals; whitish below, pink above.