Observation 12998: Ramaria Fr. ex Bonord.

When: 2008-10-22

Collection location: Forest 44 Conservation Area, St. Louis Co., Missouri, USA [Click for map]

Who: Patrick Harvey (pg_harvey)

No specimen available

Species Lists


Proposed Names

-19% (6)
Recognized by sight
Used references: Suggested by Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
39% (6)
Recognized by sight

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Single characteristics?
By: Patrick Harvey (pg_harvey)
2010-02-10 15:14:32 PST (-0800)

I suggest that since most of us are agreed this is a Ramaria species,
we are already using more than a single characteristic — coralloid,
upright growth, and tan color, along with the closely parallel arms.
Again, that last characteristic is what separates R. stricta from other
Ramaria species. If those who disagree can present another example of
a species with this particular characterstic, and also argue why their
choice is more plausible than R. stricta, I will gladly agree with them.
Spore color and exact substrate is unknown — I did not determine what
the moss was growing from.

Note that VERY few observations on this site have ANY enumeration of
characteristics, so for the majority “this looks kinda like XXX” is
ALL we can base our identifications on. If minimal descriptions were
REQUIRED, ID would be much more “scientific”.

If you would like an example of a website with more precisely determined
species, check out: http://www.momyco.org/vouchers-v1.asp

As it is, Mushroom Observer is a VERY good place to start training your eye about what to look for in an unknown mushroom.

By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-02-10 15:00:24 PST (-0800)

“So, rather than clutter the internet with more photos that will turn up when someone enters Ramaria stricta into MO or Google (which this one already will, because the name was proposed), I think it is prudent to leave it at the genus,”



P.S. If I could say it better, I would…

You are in effect suggesting that what you call “beginners” not name anything at all.
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2010-02-10 14:06:04 PST (-0800)

Which seems to be going too far to an extreme.

The hurdle ain’t so high…
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-02-10 12:11:50 PST (-0800)

In the world of mushrooms.

The burden of proof is not as high as you might think, when you suggest that a mushroom may be undescribed, at least in North America. You say “if another straight branched Ramaria isn’t known” – but the question is “known by whom?” We are a community of inexperienced parataxonomists at best.

So even more likely, (and presenting an even shorter hurdle) is that the species has been “described”, but the species name is unknown to any of us voters, and/or the species concepts in the group are difficult or impossible to interpret. This is especially true with difficult groups like Ramaria.

Furthermore, on a website like MO, there really isn’t a burden of proof – no one here (save for a very few, and then only on rare occasions) is presenting ALL the information to make a 100% unambiguous identification. For every feature that you CAN see in most MO photos, there is another that you can’t. And for a group like Ramaria, this situation precludes species-level identification in 90% of the cases.

So, rather than clutter the internet with more photos that will turn up when someone enters Ramaria stricta into MO or Google (which this one already will, because the name was proposed), I think it is prudent to leave it at the genus, and avoid encouraging beginners to apply names based on one or two or even three characters. (which is an especially hard habit to break for beginners who can point to photo X on website Y and say “looks just like this photo”).

Curses, misunderstood again.
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2010-02-10 09:42:22 PST (-0800)

My point is this: I don’t think “thicker than typical” branches suffices to rule out R. stricta. The usual rule is that several characters (at least two or three), not just one, have to be “off” to really rule something out.

Furthermore, if no other straight-branched coral is known, there’s a high hurdle to making the case that this observation is the first ever such to be seen and is a whole new undescribed species, versus if there is a known alternative straight-branched coral and some character makes this observation better fit that identification than R. stricta.

“It’s X instead of Y” has a considerably lower burden of proof, in other words, than “it’s a previously undescribed species instead of Y”.

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-02-09 20:55:52 PST (-0800)

You don’t need to have an alternative to say what something isn’t.
Case in point: I don’t know what any of Noah’s photos of Australian mushrooms are, but I know they are not any of my California mushrooms.

And your question “what other straight-branched ramaria is there?” sets up a classic taxonomic pitfall – single-character identifications. If you lump all straight branched Ramaria into R. stricta there will never be another Ramaria with straight branches, because you have ensured that they will all go by the same name.

That said, I don’t look at Ramaria closely enough to say anything about the observation in question.

I’ve seen
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2010-02-09 20:25:26 PST (-0800)

very rotted logs with moss on them looking quite like what’s in the photo. I think the photo is insufficient to determine if there is wood present or not, or, if there is, whether it is the substrate or not. Buried wood is also an ever-present possibility.

On the other hand, if you are going to argue against R. stricta you need to argue in favor of some equally-specific alternative. What other straight-branched Ramaria species is there? Unless you can suggest a plausible alternative that fits the observation at least as well, you should admit that it looks more like R. stricta than like any other species of Ramaria. And judging from the lack of another species-level name proposal, you can’t.

is it
By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2010-02-09 20:16:21 PST (-0800)

or is it growing next to a small mound which has mosses on it that you don’t typically see on wood…

It’s on
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2010-02-09 07:43:01 PST (-0800)

some sort of low mound, possibly well-rotted wood.

By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2010-02-09 04:42:48 PST (-0800)

way to thick fleshed/branched and I really doubt that it is growing on wood

By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2010-02-08 22:34:10 PST (-0800)

is the rationale for voting against R. stricta here?

Looks like
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2008-10-22 12:46:44 PDT (-0700)

R. stricta with all the vertical, parallel branches.