Ramariopsis subtilis (Pers.) R H. Petersen

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Clavariales - Family: Clavariaceae

Ramariopsis subtilis

This branching fairy club fungus is fairly easy to spot when it is growing in short grass, but in woodlands it may be almost entirely buried under wind-blown leaf litter.

Ramariopsis subtilis, England


An uncommon find in Britain and Ireland, Ramariopsis subtilis is also found in most parts of mainland Europe. This species is known to occur in North America.

Taxonomic history

Some club-like and coral-like fungi are ascomycetous, but fairy clubs of Ramariopsis and related genera belong to the Basidiomycota.

Ramariopsis subtilis was was originally described in 1797 by Christian Hendrik Persoon, who gave this species the scientific name Clavaria subtilis. The name Ramariopsis subtilis dates from a 1978 publication by American mycologist Ronald H. Petersen (b. 1934).

Synonyms of Ramariopsis subtilis include Clavaria subtilis Pers., Clavaria dichotoma Godey, Clavaria macropus Pers., Clavulinopsis dichotoma Corner, Clavulinopsis subtilis (Pers.) Corner, Ramariopsis dichotoma (Corner) R.H. Petersen, and Ramariopsis macropus (Pers.) Paechn.


The generic name Clavaria comes from the Latin clava, meaning a club, while the specific epithet subtilis means slender.

Identification guide

Ramariopsis subtilis closeup


Upright branching fruitbody, repeatedly branching from a common base; surface smoot, whitish or very pale brown; up to 4cm in height.

Spores of Ramariopsis subtilis


Subspherical, smooth, 3-4.5 x 3-4µm.

Show larger image

Spore print



Not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprobic, on the ground in unimproved mossy grassland and among leaf litter in deciduous woodland.


June to December in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

Clavaria fragilis is similar but has white unbranching spindly fruitbodies.

Culinary Notes

Ramariopsis subtilis is reported to be inedible.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

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