Xylaria key

1. Stromata on wood, fruits or leaves, sometimes buried in soil 2.
Stromata emerging from soil, not associated with recognizable plant parts 11.
2. Stromata growing from degraded fruits or leaves 3.
Stromata on rotten wood 5.
3. Stromata narrow and wiry in consistency, the ascomata arranged irregularly and most of their fruit-bodies exposed; on rotten leaves of deciduous trees Xylaria filiformis
Stromata cylindrical, irregular, the ascomata ± immersed with only the ostiolar regions exposed; on buried fruits of deciduous trees 4.
4. Stromata emerging from rotten Fagus cupules; ascospores 10-16 x 4-5 µm Xylaria carpophila
Stromata on buried fruits of Crataegus; ascospores 10-14 x 4.5-6 µm Xylaria oxyacanthae
5. Stromata frequently branched 6.
Stromata not or rarely branched 8.
6. Stromata initially white at the apex due to conidial production, slender, terete and often tomentose below and usually laterally flattened towards the apices; on rotten wood, branches and stumps of many deciduous trees 7.
Stromata initially orange-brown at the apex, very elongate (total length up to 47.5 cm); ascospores 8.5-11.5 x 3.4-4.5 µm with a short variously oriented germ slit; developing from wood deeply buried in soil Xylaria friesii
7. Ascospores 13-15 x 4.5-6 µm with a straight germ slit extending the length of the spore Xylaria hypoxylon
Ascospores 16-20 (-22) x 4.5-7 µm, with a short inconspicuous germ slit Xylaria digitata
8. Stromata small, usually sessile and acute-tipped, when young with a grey coat that splits longitudinally to reveal the stroma surface Xylaria cinerea
Stromata medium-sized to large, not acute-tipped 9.
9. Stromata short and capitate, with a broad shallowly domed upper surface Xylaria crozonensis
Stromata large, clavate to cylindrical, with a rounded apex 10.
10. Stromata 1-5 cm diam., irregular in shape but usually ± clavate, sometimes branched at the base; ascospores 20-32 x 5-12 µm with a straight germ slit; on dead stumps and logs, especially of Fagus Xylaria polymorpha
Stromata rarely more than 1 cm diam., usually unbranched and sometimes with a long stipe; ascospores 11-17 x 5-7 µm with a long slightly helical germ slit; usually on Acer pseudoplatanus Xylaria longipes
11. Stromata emerging from a prominent basal bulbous structure; ascospores 9-12 (-14) x 3.5-5.5 µm Xylaria bulbosa
Stromata not formed from a bulb-like structure, slender and frequently branched with acute apices; ascospores (5.5-) 6.5-9 x 3-5 µm; in manured soil Xylaria guepinii

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith