Coral Fungus

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

coral fungus of which the most common edible varieties are Ramaria botrytis, R. aurea, and R. flava, is abundant in woods throughout Europe and N. America in the autumn and Australia in the spring, having a global distribution. It is a conspicuous growth, measuring up to 15 cm (6") wide and high, but is often ignored by mushroom gatherers since it looks like coral rather than a mushroom. R. botrytis is usually off-white with pink tips, and R. aurea golden.

Both species are good to eat when young and sound. They may be cut up and cooked like any mushrooms, and are also good pickled in vinegar. The bitter-tasting tips of the former should be cut off. Identification of the latter should be positive, since some other coral fungi of similar coloration are unsafe to eat.