Fungalpedia – Note 73 Ramaria


Ramaria Fr. ex Bonord.

Citation if using this entry: Bera et al. (2023) Basidiomycota. Mycosphere (in prep)

Index FungorumMycoBankGenBank, Fig. 1

The genus Ramaria popularly known as “coral mushrooms” was introduced by Holmsköld (1790). Although many taxonomists have treated Ramaria as a segment of another genus Clavaria (Coker 1923Doty 1944Leathers 1955). The taxonomic placement of this genus was always debated until Donk (1933) elevated the name Ramaria to its current generic status based on Bonorden’s (1851) usage of the name Ramaria (Corner 19501970Donk 1961Peterson 1968Marr & Stuntz 1973). Ramaria is currently classified under the family Gomphaceae (Gomphales, Hymenomycetes) as per Donk (1961), and Petersen (1988). Another school of thought considers the genus under the family Ramariaceae (Corner 1970Hawksworth et al. 1995). The typical character of Ramaria is its always branched, coralloid basidiomata generally with intense shades of yellow, orange, or red tones of colour (Marr & Stuntz 1973). Though sometimes the colour changes on bruising (Marr & Stuntz 1973). It has fleshy-fibrous to coriaceous to cartilaginous or gelatinous consistency (Marr & Stuntz 1973Humpert et al. 2001). The hymenium is generally amphigenous and turns green on application of ferric sulphate (Humpert et al. 2001Marr & Stuntz 1973). The basidiospores of Ramaria species are of rusty brown to yellowish brown and are either smooth or have warted to echinulate or striate ornamentation (Marr & Stuntz 1973). The ornamentation of the basidiospores is cyanophilous (Humpert et al. 2001). The hyphae of the context are either monomitic or dimitic whereas the generative hyphae are inflated to non-inflated with thin to thick walls and generally have clamp connections (Marr & Stuntz 1973). The gleoplerous hyphae are quite common in this genus with localized bulbous regions and stains in cotton blue (Marr & Stuntz 1973). Ramaria species are either lignicolous or terrestrial, sometimes with rhizomorphic strands (Marr & Stuntz 1973). Four terrestrial species [Ramaria aurea (Schaeff.: Fr.) Quel., R. largentii Marr & D. E. Stuntz, R. spinulosa (Pers.) Quél., R. subbotrytis (Coker) Corner] are known to be ectomycorrhizal (Agerer et al. 1996abcdHumpert et al. 2001). Numerous revisionary studies of Ramaria based on macroscopic, microscopic, and macrochemical characters classified the genus into four subgenera: (i) R. subg. Ramaria (ii) R. subg. Laeticolora (iii) R. subg. Lentoramaria and (iv) R. subg. Echinoramaria (Corner 19501970Donk 1961Marr & Stuntz 1973Petersen 19691974ab1975197619791982198619871988abPetersen & Zang 1986Petersen & Scates 1988). However, the evolutionary studies of coralloid fungi supported by molecular studies suggested paraphyletic nature of Ramaria (Donk 1961Corner 195019661970Petersen 1971, 1973, Hibbett et al. 1997Pine et al. 1999Humpert et al. 2001). Ramaria botrytis (Pers.) Bourdot is the type species and to date the genus is estimated to have approximately 250 species. 

Type species: Ramaria botrytis (Pers.) Bourdot 


Fig 1. Ramaria botrytis. a. Basidiomata. b. Basidiospores. c. Basidia. d. Context-hyphae and ampulaeform swellings. Scale bars: b–d = 20 μm. Drawn from Marr & Stuntz 1973 (a & b) and Thind & Sharda 1985 (c & d).



Agerer R 1996a – Ramaria aurea (Schaeff.: Fr.) Quel. + Fagus sylvatica L. Descr. Ectomyc., 1, 107–112.

Agerer R 1996b – Ramaria largentii Marr & D. E. Stuntz + Picea abies (L.) Karst. Descr. Ectomyc., 1, 113–118.

Agerer R 1996c – Ramaria spinulosa (Fr.) Quel. + Fagus sylvatica L. Descr. Ectomyc., 1, 119–124.

Agerer R 1996d – Ramaria subbotrytis (Coker) Corner+ Quercus robur L. Descr. Ectomyc., 1, 125–130.

Bonorden HF 1851 – Handbuch der allgemeinen Mykologie. Stuttgart: E. Schweizerbart.

Coker WC 1923 – The clavarias of the United States and Canada. University of North Carolina Press. 209 p.

Corner EJH 1950 – A monograph of Clavaria and allied genera. London: Oxford University Press. 740 p.

Corner EJH 1966 – Species of Ramaria (Clavariaceae) without clamps. Trans. Br. Mycol. Soc., 49, 101–113.

Corner EJH 1970 – Supplement to a monograph of Clavaria and allied genera. Beih Nova Hedwigia, 33, 1–299.

Donk MA 1933 – Revision der Niederlandischen Homobasidiomycetae-Aphyllophoraceae II. Mededeel Bot Mus Rijks-Univ Utrecht 9, 1–278.

Donk MA 1961 – Four new families of Hymenomycetes. Persoonia, 1, 405–407.

Doty MSC 1944 – The species known from Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State Monographs. Studies in Botany, 7, 91.

Hawksworth DL, Kirk PM, Sutton BC, Pegler DN 1995 – Dictionary of the Fungi, 8th ed. Cambridge: CAB International. 616 p.

Hibbett DS, Pine EM, Langer E, Langer G, Donoghue MJ 1997 – Evolution of gilled mushrooms and puffballs inferred from ribosomal DNA sequences. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA 94, 12002–12006.

Holmsköld T 1790 – Beata ruris otia fungorum Danicis. Vol I. Copenhagen: E. Viborg

Humpert AJ, Muench EL, Giachini AJ, Castellano MA, Spatafora JW 2001 – Molecular phylogenetics of Ramaria and related genera: evidence from nuclear large subunit and mitochondrial small subunit rDNA sequences. Mycologia, 93(3), 465–477.

Leathers CR 1955 – The Genus Clavaria Fries in Michigan. University of Michigan.

Marr CD, Stuntz DE 1973 – Ramaria of Western Washington. Biblioth. Mycol., 38, 1–232.

Petersen RH 1968 – Ramaria (Holmsjold) S.F. Gray versus Ramaria (Fries) Bonorden. Taxon, 17, 279–280.

Petersen RH 1969 – Type studies in clavarioid fungi. III. The taxa described by JB Cleland. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 457–466.

Petersen RH 1971 – Interfamilial relationships in the clavarioid fungi and cantharelloid fungi. In: Petersen RH, ed. Evolution in the higher Basidiomycetes. An international symposium. Knoxville, Tennessee: Univ. of Tennessee. 345–374.

Petersen RH 1973 – Aphyllophorales II: the clavarioid and cantharelloid Basidiomycetes. In: Ainsworth GC, Sussman AS, eds. The fungi, an advanced treatise. New York: Academic Press. 351–367.

Petersen RH 1974a – Contribution toward a monograph of Ramaria. I. Some classic species redescribed. Am. Bot., 61, 739–748.

Petersen RH 1974b – Contributions toward a monograph of Ramaria. II. Exclusion of Ramaria pinicola (Burt) Corner. Elisa Mitchell Sci Soc., 90, 66–68.

Petersen RH 1975 – Ramaria subg. Lentoramaria, with emphasis on North American taxa. Biblioth. Mycol., 43, 1–161.

Petersen RH 1976 – Contribution toward a monograph of Ramaria. III. R. sanguinea, R. formosa, and two new species from Europe. AmJ. Bot., 63, 309–316.

Petersen RH 1979 – Contribution to a monograph of Ramaria. IV. R. testaceo-jlava and R. bataillei. Nova Hedwigia, 31, 25–38.

Petersen RH 1982 – Contributions toward a monograph of Ramaria. V. Type specimen studies of taxa described by W. C. Coker. Sydowia Ann. Mycol., 35, 176–205.

Petersen RH 1986 – Some Ramaria taxa from Nova scotia. Canadian journal of botany, 64(8), 1786–1811.

Petersen RH 1987 – Contribution toward a monograph of Ramaria. VI. The Ramaria fennicarversatilis complex. Sydowia, 40, 197–226.

Petersen RH 1988 – The clavarioid fungi of New Zealand. Wellington: Science Information Publishing Centre. 170 p.

Petersen RH 1988a – Contribution toward a monograph of Ramaria. VII. New taxa and miscellany. Mycologia, 80, 223–234.

Petersen RH 1988b – The clavarioid fungi of New Zealand. Wellington: Science Information Publishing Centre. 170 p.

Petersen RH, Scates C 1988 – Vernally fruiting taxa of Ramaria from the Pacific Northwest. Mycotaxon, 33, 101–144.

Petersen RH, Zang M 1986 – New or interesting clavarioid fungi from Yunnan, China. Acta Bot. Yunnan., 8, 281–294.

Pine EM, Hibbett DS, Donoghue MJ 1999 – Phylogenetic relationships of cantharelloid and clavarioid Homobasidiomycetes based on mitochondrial and nuclear rDNA sequences. Mycologia, 91, 944–963.

Thind KS, Sharda RM 1985 – The genus Ramaria in the Eastern Himalayas: Subgenera Ramaria, Echinoramaria and Lentoramaria. Proceedings: Plant Sciences, 95, 51–64.


Entry by

Ishika Bera, Center of Excellence in Fungal Research, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand


(Edited by Kevin D Hyde)