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Group of Fungi: Flask Fungi
Latin Name: Hypoxylon fragiforme (Pers.) J. Kickx f.
Common Name: Red Cushion Hypoxylon
Description: Hemispherical to almost globose structure, 1/16–5/8 in (0.15–1.5 cm) wide and 1/16–3/8 in (0.15–1.0 cm) high, grayish-white at first but changing first to salmon-pink and then to brick red; surface bumpy; interior black; spores dark brown to almost black in mass.
Biological Role: Decomposer of wood.
Habitat: On dead branches of beech in which the bark is still present; usually occurring in clusters.
Geographical Distribution: Widely distributed in eastern North America wherever beech is found.
Comments: This is a very easy fungus to identify because of its distinctive brick red color and the consistent association with beech. Although reported occasionally from other kinds of wood, Hypoxylon fragiforme is common and often abundant only on dead and dying beech trees.