Ramaria by Microscopic Features

A Natural Key to the Published Australian Species of Ramaria

10th April, 2014

1. Basidiospores with longitudinal or helical striations embedded in the spore wall; usually fusiform (spindle shaped, "mummy-shaped" sensu Cleland) to long ellipsoid, occasionally short ellipsoid; spore profile almost smooth to finely undulate at most; only a single species so far known; subgenus Ramaria R. australiana
1.* Basidiospores with spines, cog-like teeth or warts decorating the exterior of the spore wall; spore shape varying from subcylindrical to long ellipsoid, ellipsoid or approaching globose; profile very finely to coarsely rough, spiny (echinate) or sometimes with the warts resembling cog-like teeth.
2. Basidiospores with spines or cog-like teeth on the spore wall exterior; basidiospores lacrymoid or occasionally approaching subglobose; profile echinate or very rough with cog-like teeth; massed spores tinted yellow under the microscope; subgenus Echinoramaria 3
2.* Basidiospores with warts on the exterior of the spore wall; warts may be random or arranged into longitudinal or helical ridges; basidiospores elliptical to cylindrical, occasionally approaching subglobose; profile finely to coarsely rough; massed spores tinted brownish under the microscope.
3. All parts of the basidioma rapidly becoming greenish when bruised or basidiomata becoming wholly greenish with age. R. abietina
3.* Basidiomata never with greenish staining or becoming wholly greenish with age.
4. Basidioma wholly yellowish from the start and stipe at most brownish yellow; apices tapered and acute. R. ochracea
4.* Basidioma cinnamon brownish with paler apices; apices bluntly rounded.
R. zippelii
5. Rhizomorphs always present, usually abundant, and containing two types of hyphae (dimitic state) consisting of thin-walled, frequently clamped hyphae (generative) and very thick-walled, small diameter, unclamped, skeletal hyphae; skeletal hyphae are absent from the fruiting body of the sole Australian species; subgenus Lentoramaria. R. filicicola
5.* Rhizomorphs present or absent, but if present then containing only thin-walled hyphae, with or without clamps (monomitic state); skeletalised hyphae may be present or absent in the basidioma; subgenus Laeticolora.
6. Trichodermal palisade present on the apices; apices inflating and becoming capitate or leotiod, sometimes viscid; two varieties – the first wholly yellowish and exhibiting a terraced appearance with individual "cauliflower-like florets ", the second with salmon-pink (rarely reddish in Tas. ?) branches and exhibiting a closed, very compact "cauliflower-like surface" so that individual apices in a coralloid structure are almost lacking. R. capitata var. capitata
R. capitata var. ochraceosalmonicolor
6.* Trichodermal palisade on the apices always absent; apices never inflating, never viscid and basidiomata displaying typical, and more open coralloid structures.
7. Basidiomata displaying shades of purple, lilac or violet in at least the juvenile and early mature stages; flesh underneath a very vivid and contrasting white; basidiospores always very coarsely rough in profile. R. fennica var. fumigata
7.* Basidiomata without any shades of purple, lilac or violet in at least the juvenile and early mature stages; basidiospore profiles various.
8. Stipe trama and (usually) the branch trama displaying hyphal gelatinisation; tramal hyphae usually translucent and exuding glutinous material into microscopic media. 9
8.* Gelatinised tissues absent.
9. Basidiomata with bright red apices and upper branches. R. stuntzii var. gelatinosa
9.* Basidiomata yellowish to ochre-yellow or orange-yellow.
R. gelatinosa var. oregonensis
10. Branches salmon-pink to pinkish orange; apices not concolorous with the branches and cream coloured, yellow or yellow orange. 11
10.* Branches and apices variously coloured but not with the above combination of colours.
11. Basidiospores 7.2 –10.0 µm, most spores with warts randomly scattered but occasional basidiospores with warts arranged in longitudinal striations; stipe very short, slender or forming a pseudostipe from adpressed lower branches. R. anziana
11.* Basidiospores 8.6 –12.2 µm, most spores with warts arranged in longitudinal or helical striations; stipe distinct and ± stout.
R. samuelsii
12. Clamps absent throughout the basidioma. 13
12.* Clamps present throughout the basidioma.
13. Stipe base rapidly displaying plum-coloured to reddish stains when bruised. R. xanthosperma var. australiana
13.* Stipe base not rapidly displaying plum-coloured to reddish stains when bruised.
14. Apices and branches wholly cream coloured to yellow. 15
14.* Apices not concolorous with branches and bright pink to red; branches pale pinkish cream and whole fungus becoming buff with pinkish tints at maturity.
R. botrytoides
15. Stipe slender; apices tapered and acute, usually dichotomous; spores mostly broadly ellipsoid, Lm < 7.5 µm. R. lorithamnus
15.* Stipe stout to robust; apices cuspidate to single and tapered, but always rounded at the tip; spores distinctly ellipsoid, Lm > 7.5 µm.
16. Apices distinctly tapered and double dichotomous; all parts brunnescent where bruised or with age. R. subtilis var. microspora
16.* Apices distinctly cuspidate; never changing colour where bruised.
R. citrinocuspidata
17. Apices bluntly rounded and digitate; basidiospore Lm > 9.0 µm. R. watlingii
17.* Apices cristate and finely divided; basidiospore Lm < 9.0 µm.   R. pyrispora

† These species have not yet been found in Queensland, but may be present.