A tiny forest of wiry, antler-like branches rises up from a rotting piece of wood. This is the candlesnuff fungus, Xylaria hypoxilon. I was delighted to spot this quirky little fungus on a drippy, rainy hike in the woods. I was even more delighted when I learned its name!
You’ll know you’ve found a candlesnuff fungus by its slim, branched appearance and because the lower part is dark while the upper portion is dusted with white. In certain areas it can be found year-round, but it’s particularly common in the fall and winter on oak and tanoak wood.