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Beech Woodwart

Inedible Inedible
Autumn Autumn
Spring Spring
Summer Summer
Winter Winter

Small, irregularly hemispherical brick red to rusty brown coloured warts found in large numbers on dead or fallen beech.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Beech Woodwart, Dafaden Ffawydd (CY), Drewniak Szkarłatny (PL), Vöröses Ripacsgomba (HU)
Scientific Name Hypoxylon fragiforme
Synonyms Hypoxylon coccineum, Hypoxylon cupreum, Hypoxylon argillaceum, Sphaeria fragiformis
Season Start All Year
Season End All Year
Average Mushroom height (CM)
Average Cap width (CM)
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

Fruit bodies (stroma in singular, stromata in plural) look like small, only 2–8 mm in diameter, irregularly hemispherical brick red to rusty brown coloured warts, covered in even tinier lumps (which holds flask-shaped individual chambers, called perithecium in singular and perithecia in plural, which contains the asci).


Tough and black.


Saprotrophic on dead wood (fallen branches and rotting stumps) of several hardwoods, but most of all beech (Fagus), causes white-rot. Same as its relatives, it is one of the earliest colonisers of the suitable hosts/substrates. Once it has  started to colonise the dead wood, it will start growing in large numbers. 

Possible Confusion

Beech woodwart (Hypoxylon fragiforme) mostly can be confused with other woodwarts.
Hazel woodwart (Hypoxylon fuscum) is smaller and growing on hazel (Corylus) and sometimes alder (Alnus) instead of beech (Fagus).
Fully mature Hypoxylon howeanum fruit bodies look almost identical to Beech Woodwart (microscopy is a must for a solid, species-level ID), while it is easy to separate the two species in their younger stage. Hypoxylon howeanum can grow on many different deciduous trees, but mostly found on hornbeam (Carpinus).

Taste / Smell

Inedible. Taste and smell not distinctive.


Very common and widespread on the British Isles.


Spore print is very dark brown. Spores are elongated ellipsoid or flattened and bean shaped (allantoid); smooth, dark brown with an occasional single oil-like droplet (guttule) within.

Other Facts

The old fruit bodies (stromata) of Beech Woodwart could be colonised by Dialonectria episphaeria, a tiny Ascomycota with vinaceous red fruit bodies which grows on various species from class Sordariomycetes, such as Common Tarcrust (Diatrype stigma), Birch Blackhead (Diatrypella favacea), Ruzenia spermoides, Chaetosphaerella phaeostroma, etc.


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