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Page number:178 
Description type:Non-original description 
Description:Clavaria aurea var. australis COKER (1923). Clav. U. S. & Can., pp. 144-146, pls. 54, 87, figs. 1, 2.
HOLOTYPE : NCU - herb. COKER, Chapel Hill, NC (woods north of athletic field), 18. X. 17, coll. COKER & Couch, no. 2912. Fruitbodies two, up to 7X4.5 cm, repeatedly branched, broadly obovate in profile. Stipe up to 1.5 x 1 cm, single, discrete, abruptly pointed below substrate, rooting somewhat, covered with a thin, mealy layer of white hyphae involving a thin layer of soil; abortive branches few. Major branches several, up to 1 cm broad, divergent-ascending, smooth, terete when fresh or dried, rich buffy orange (COKER), between "capucine orange" and "orange buff" of RIDGWAY, staining vinaceous brown (COKER) where handled; secondary branches in 3-5 ranks, ascending, terete, concolorous with major branches; flesh delicate, brittle, white below to yellowish above; axils rounded; internodes diminishing gradually; apices cusped when young, becoming irregular swollen-digitate to knobby by maturity, concolorous with branches, ?sordid vinaceous brown in age or handling. Taste mildly bitter; odor faintly medicinal. Mixed pine-oak woods.
Hyphae of stipe trama 3-13 µm diam, thin-walled, hyaline, without clamp connections, tightly interwoven (some moniliaceous mold, with small ellipsoid, singlecelled spores has invaded the tramal tissue); ampulliform swellings and gloeoplerous hyphae not observed. Hyphae of upper branch trama as in stipe trama, parallel, adherent. Basidia 65-80 x 8-10 µm, clavate, often swollen somewhat distally, without clamp connection, faintly refringent when young, thin-walled and easily collapsed distally; sterigmata 4. Spores (Fig. 1) 13.3-16.6 x 4.3-5.5 µm (E=2.40-3.23; E-=2.90; L-=14.59 µm), narrowly ellipsoid to subboletoid, distinctly roughened in profile; contents homogeneous; wall up to 0.2 µm thick; hilar appendix eccentric, prominent, gradual; ornamentation up to 0.2 l.m high, of complex meandering ridges and smaller discrete warts covering extensive wall area.
Observations. - In order to understand the taxa most similar to this, it is necessary to assess COKER's concept of the typical variety of Clavaria (Ramaria) aurea. Three concepts were included: 1) sense COKER (i. e., Burnham # 102), - R. aurea var. australis; 2) sense ROMELL, which seems to be conspecific with R. fava ss. ROMELL; and 3) sense BRESADOLA, which seems quite similar to R. (lava ss. ROMELL. The latter two share golden yellow color, rubri-brunnescent staining at the fruitbody base, and clamped hyphae and Basidia. With C. aurea var. australis they share only the staining reaction.
PETERSEN (1974) redescribed Ramaria (Clavaria) aurea (SCHAEFF.: FR.) QUEL., as clampless, not staining on handling, and with dull golden yellow apices but flat salmon-yellow branches, following closely the illustration by SCHAEFFER (1774). Clavaria aurea var. australis shares only the clampless state, differing in color and staining (and parenthetically, in spore measurements and ornamentation).
CORNER (1950) interpreted COKER's variety as aberrant states of R. sanguinea, R. formosa and R. flavo-brunnescens. From the latter two, it differs in clampless hyphae, and from the former in spore statistics and fruitbody color. Later, CORNER (1966, 1970) still did not report the clampless state of C. aurea var. australis, and the name was never recombined into Ramaria.
To what taxa is COKER's variety most similar? Clearly, Ramaria xanthosperma (PK.) CORNER is rather close, being large-spored, clampless and red-staining. It differs in cream-colored branches and lemon yellow apices. To the consociation may be added an unnamed taxon from southeastern Australia. The three, while similar, are not conspecific.
Such judgements, in my opinion, make necessary a proposal to treat COKER's variety as a dinstinct species of Ramaria. Moreover, australis, having priority only at varietal rank, would be inappropriate as a species epithet, for no specific character is described. Better, I would suggest, might be the following:
Ramaria piedmontiana COKER apud PETERSEN, stat., nom. et comb. nov. (Basionym: Clavaria aurea var. australis COKER 1923, Clav. U. S. & Can., pp. 144).
The type specimen is cited above, and no Latin description is required for a taxon described before 1935
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