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Page number:60 
Description type:Non-original description 
Description:RAMARIA COKERI Petersen in Parker & Roane. 1976. Distrib. Flora S. Appal., p. 291.
[= Clavaria fragillima auct. non Saccardo & Sydow. Van Overeem. 1923. Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg 111 5: 275; as Clavariella: = Ramaria "fragillima (Sacc. & Syd.)" Corner. 1950. Ann. Bot. Mem. 1: 588].
Holotypus: TENN -- Tennessee, Blount Co., GSMNP, one mile west of Crib Gap, near Cades Cove, 2.vii.71, no. 36030.
Colored Plate 1, Fig. l; Pl. 6, Figs. 3, 5; Pl. 9, Figs. 1-3; Pl. 10, Fig. 4; text Fig. 12.
Fruitbodies (C. Pl. 1, Fig. 1) up to 13 cm high, up to 6.5 cm broad, copiously branched from a substantial stipe. Stipe up to 7 cm long, up to 3 cm thick, white below substrate level, and then plushy to smooth, quickly vinescent where handled or bruised, darkening slowly to deep maroon-brown ("liver brown", "bay", "carob brown", "diamine brown"), often rooting somewhat, and usually carrot-shaped, brown upward near branches ("Kaiser brown") with some rusty brown patches ("ferruginous"). Major branches several, up to 1.5 cm broad at base, arching upward, rebranching into 3-6 ranks, downward dull olivaceous brown (between "buffy brown" and "Saccardo's umber", "tawny olive", "Isabella color") when mature, upward gradually more yellowish ("honey yellow", upward to "mustard yellow"), with the apices (1-2 mm) reddish or ruddy ("orange ochraceous", "rufous", "orange rufous", "English red", "Mars Orange"), with the very minute apices (less than 1 mm) creamy or yellow. Young fruitbody color much redder, with upper stipe and branches brick red ("orange rufous"), apices yellow ("apricot yellow"). All parts quickly vinescent on handling or bruising, and the hymenium blackening in places where bruised. Flesh whitish, quickly turning "cinnamon brown" where torn or cut. Axils narrowly to broadly rounded, often rusty brown ("Kaiser brown") with deposited spores; apices minutely digitate, rounded, polychotomous.
Odor mild (of Thelephora palmata, perhaps, or of Ganoderma teste Corner); taste mildly bitter, astringent.
Hyphae of branch trama 3.5-7.5 µm diam, thin-walled, hyaline, inconspicuously clamped, perhaps agglutinated, very densely packed, strictly longitudinally oriented; gloeoplerous system represented by short hyphal segments 2.4-5.4 µm diam, often swelling at septa up to 14 µm broad, very refringent under bright field and phase contrast, conspicuous; ampulliform septal inflations rare or absent. Subhymenium rudimentary. Hymenium thickening; basidia 52-80 x 7.8-8.2 µm, narrowly clavate to subcylindrical, inflated somewhat apically, clamped, thin-walled, hyaline, homogeneous in content when immature, becoming relatively densely multiguttulate at maturity, the guttules refringent under bright field and phase contrast, yellowish under bright field, (2)-4-sterigmate; sterigmata up to 8.4 µm long, slightly divergent and slightly incurved, stout, persistent after spore discharge.
Spores 11.1-13.3 x 4.4-5.9 µm (E = 2.00-2.83; _Em = 2.31), vaguely narrowly ovoid or more accurately ovoid adaxially, rounded distally and narrowly asymmetrical proximally; ochra ceous under bright field, rusty ochraceous in prints ("raw sienna"), relatively thin-walled; contents uni- to multiguttulate, the guttules brownish under phase contrast, almost invisible under bright field; wall up to 0.3 µm thick, moderately cyanophilous; apiculus a thin-walled, acyanophilous extension of the spore contents protruding from a collarlike apicular portion of the wall; ornamentation of numerous coarse, large (up to 1.8 µm long), strongly cyanophilous spines, largest in the median portion of the spore, becoming shorter toward both ends.
Macrochemical reactions: Stipe flesh pale greenish in FeS04, purple-green with added ETOH; yellow in KOH; deep blue in guaiac tincture. Hymenium and branch sections deep blue green in FeS04, black with added ETOH; dark brown in KOH, with liquid becoming yellow-green; obscurely deep blue in guaiac tincture; positive reactions in pyrogallol and aniline oil; negative in NH40H.
On soil under mixed forests; Pacific tropics (Java, Ceylon, Malaya teste Corner); low elevations in southern Appalachian Mountains; tropical and subtropical South and Central America.
OBSERVATIONS: Although in describing this species I was drawn toward R. apiahyana (q.v.) by fruitbody color similarities and toward R. broomei (as R. nigrescens) for spore resemblance, somehow I overlooked Corner's (1970: 588-591, pl. 12; 1950: 244) comments and description of R. fragillima; when at last I examined specimens from the Pacific tropics, they differed not at all from the taxon I had described. My first reaction, of course, was that R. cokeri was a nomen superfluum, which could be cast into synonymy. Later, however, I was unable to locate Hennings' type, and with Corner's (1950) description, by his own words, seriously at odds with Hennings' original concept (see nomina dubia below), it seems wiser to adopt this later name, correctly, than to perpetuate a name blatantly used incorrectly. Moreover, Corner (1950: 590) has an organism which answers Hennings' description, and the nomenclature adopted here allows usage of R. fragillima in a sense hopefully closer to the true concept.
The distribution of R. cokeri again points up the tropical climate of low elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains. In addition, however, it raises questions about the lack of reports of the taxon from South and Central America. I have seen only one specimen from that continent.
In North America, the species is well marked by the brick red color when young, and the apices which remain so into maturity. Otherwise the taxon is rather nondescript. It seems to fruit in much the same forest types as Gloeocantharellus purpurascens (Hesl. & Smith) Singer, another extension taxon of a basically tropical group. Both fruit in cut over, second growth hardwood forests with some Tsuga present near watercourses.
Ahmad's (1956) report of the taxon (as R. fragillima) cannot be taken literally for nomenclatural and taxonomic reasons. The name itself is dubious, although one may assume that it was used in the general framework of Corner. Ahmad included no description, however. Moreover, Thind (1961) picked up the name (again with no description) and furnished it witti key characters probably adopted from Corner (1950) All in all, these reports are dubious at best, although R. cokeri might well be expected in tropical Pakistan and India. Conversely, Corner's (1970) record of distribution can be accepted, providing his taxonomie concept remained constant over 20 years, for R. cokeri (his R. fragillima) is more or less unique and difficult to confuse witti anything else.
 
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