The Clavariaceae family comprises fungi within the Agaricales order. Previously, the family encompassed numerous clavarioid fungi such as club and coral fungi. However, its current definition is narrower, although it includes a wider range of basidiocarp forms. These basidiocarps can be either clavarioid or agaricoid (mushroom-shaped) and occasionally corticioid (effused, crust-like) or hydnoid (with hanging spines).
|Family||Clavariaceae Chevall. (1826)|
|Type genus||Clavaria Vaill. ex L. (1753)|
|Genera||Camarophyllopsis, Ceratellopsis, Clavaria, Clavicorona, Clavulinopsis, Hirticlavula, Hodophilus, Hyphodontiella, Lamelloclavaria, Mucronella, Ramariopsis|
The Clavariaceae family was initially defined as “Clavariae” by the French botanist and mycologist François Fulgis Chevallier in 1826. It was one of five families that Elias Fries used to divide the Agaricales and Aphyllophorales in his influential work Systema Mycologicum, alongside the Agaricaceae, Hydnaceae, Polyporaceae, and Thelephoraceae. The family was created as a convenient category for all genera that included species with superficially similar club or coral-like fruit bodies. However, M.A. Donk and later E.J.H. Corner realized that the family, in this broad sense, did not represent a natural phylogenetic group of related species. In 1950, Corner published his global monograph, which introduced modern concepts of many clavarioid fungi genera. Corner’s concept of the Clavariaceae included three genera: Clavaria, Clavulinopsis, and Ramariopsis.
Molecular research, based on cladistic analysis of DNA sequences, has confirmed Corner’s concept of the Clavariaceae, but has extended it to include agarics (gilled mushrooms) in the genera Camarophyllopsis, Hodophilus, and Lamelloclavaria. The clavarioid genera Clavicorona, Hirticlavula, and a revised concept of Ceratellopsis are also included, as is the hydnoid genus Mucronella and the corticioid genus Hyphodontiella.
Habitat and distribution
The family has a worldwide distribution, though many individual species are more localized. Basidiocarps of Hirticlavula, Hyphodontiella, and Mucronella occur on dead wood and are thus normally found in woodland. Species of the remaining genera may also be found in woodland, but in Europe are more typical of old, agriculturally unimproved waxcap grasslands.
Lignicolous species are presumed to be saprotrophic, wood-decaying fungi; Ceratellopsis species occur on dead leaves and litter and are also presumed to be saprotrophic. The remaining members of the Clavariaceae are considered to be biotrophic, a few forming associations with ericaceous plants.