Dead Man’s Fingers
Black, distorted, clublike or finger-shaped; wrinkled, charcoal-like surface. Grows at the base of rotting deciduous trees and stumps. June–October, but can be found all year. Fruiting body irregularly clublike or finger-shaped, short-stalked; black, like charcoal; surface texture finely wrinkled or roughened; flesh inside is whitish and tough. Spore print dark brown to black. Spores magnified are narrow, spindle-shaped, flat on one side.
Lookalikes: There are a few other, similar Xylaria species. Also, very young specimens of devil’s urn (Urnula craterium) have rounded tops before the cup opens.