Violet Coral Fungus

(Clavaria zollingeri)

Conservation Status
Violet Coral Fungus
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

VU - Vulnerable


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Violet Coral Fungus is a colorful, medium-sized, antler fungus. It occurs in Europe, Japan, Australia, North America, and South America. In the United States it occurs from Maine to Georgia, west to Minnesota and eastern Texas, with an isolated population in western California. It is found in summer and fall. It grows on the ground, alone or in groups, in woodland litter, often in moss, always under hardwoods. It obtains it nutrients from decaying organic matter (saprobic).

The fruiting body is a purple to pinkish-purple, ¾ to 4 (2 to 10 cm) tall, up to 2¾ (7 cm) wide clump of branched stalks growing from a short common base. Each stalk is erect or ascending and dichotomously branched (forked) one to a few times. They are typically forked once very near the ground, once very near the tip, and one or more times between. The branches are fragile and 116to ¼ (2 to 6 mm) thick. The ultimate branch tips are rounded. The surface is smooth and dry.

Like other coral fungi, the spore surface is the outside surface of the fruiting body.

The flesh is purplish and thin. It is edible in small quantities and has a radish-like taste, but it may have a laxative effect.

The spore print is white.


Similar Species


Purple Spindles (Alloclavaria purpurea) stalks are dull purple and unbranched. It grows under spruce and fir trees.

Habitat and Hosts

Under hardwoods




Summer and fall


Distribution Map



24, 26, 29, 30, 77.





  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Division Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subdivision Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Agaricales (common gilled mushrooms and allies)  
  Suborder Clavariineae  
  Family Clavariaceae (antler and spindle fungi)  
  Genus Clavaria  



Clavaria lavandula


Common Names


Magenta Coral Fungus

Purplish Clavaria

Violet Coral Fungus










A term often used for saprotrophic fungi. Referring to fungi that obtain their nutrients from decayed organic matter.






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    Violet Coral Fungus   Violet Coral Fungus  








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Other Videos
  Coral Fungi: Clavulinopsis aurantio-cinnabarina, Clavaria zollingeri and more!
Nature at Your Door Frank Taylor

Sep 24, 2021

Take a walk with me in the Appalachian Forest and see an amazing variety of Coral Fungi! From yellow: Clavulinopsis fusiformis, to orange: Clavulinopsis aurantio-cinnabarina, to white and the amazing purple: Clavaria zollingeri! We will encounter other species as well and a non-fungus, but often misunderstood, chlorophyll-less true flowering plant: Ghost pipe or Corpse flower.




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Location: Fairview Twp. Cass Co.

Violet Coral Fungus







Created: 10/16/2022

Last Updated:

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