Quick facts

Common names: candlesnuff fungus, stag’s horn fungus, candlestick fungus, carbon antlers

Scientific name: Xylaria hypoxylon

Family: Xylariaceae

Fruiting season: fruits all year round, especially during autumn and winter

Habitat: deadwood of broadleaved trees and moss

What does candlesnuff fungus look like?

Growing to a height of 6cm, candlesnuff fungus looks like a snuffed-out candle wick. It has a black base, grey mid-section and white tip.

Fruit body/spores: stick-like and erect, with a white and powdery tip and a black and hairy base. Spores are black, smooth and bean-shaped.

Not to be confused with: beechmast candlesnuff (Xylaria carpophyla), which is much thinner.

Candlesnuff fungus growing on dead wood

Credit: Martin Fowler / Alamy Stock Photo

Where to find candlesnuff fungus 

It is very common in the UK and grows in groups on dead wood, especially on rotting stumps of broadleaved trees. It is often found growing through moss.

Uses of candlesnuff fungus

This fungus has medicinal properties; it is both anti-viral and active against tumours. Although it is not poisonous, it is too small and tough to eat.

Did you know?

The powdery substance seen on the upper branches in spring is made up of asexual spores. Sexual spores are produced later in the season, which gives the fungus two chances to reproduce.