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The substrate is a branch of wild cherrywood that had been lying on the ground for a year, with these structures on the underside

only a few of the balls were stalked; most were sessile, and some a lot smaller.

The color originally was purplish, as in the first image. some aged to this reddish shade later. The scale in the background is in centimeters

Surface close up

Some of the balls started showing surface structures like this. I'd just finished hatching out 100 solitary wasps from a large gall on a wild rosebush root, so thought at first that this might also have been a gall of some sort

A cross section of the ball from the third picture (centimeter/millimeter scale in background

I don't have a good photographing setup for photo microscopy, so apologies for the fuzzy picture. I had put one of the balls in a closed container to see if anything would hatch out. Instead I got a black sooty spore deposit. Guess that the spores rule out insects . Size is about 13 by 6 microns.

Luurt: I collected these specimens back in late November last year in the Vancouver, WA area.
and have been fussing over them ever since
I think that I have it narrowed down to two possibilities, but only very tentatively

Right now I'm vacillating between Hypoxylon and Daldinia.
Help with identification would be appreciated

Dick B: After reading a few descriptions in MatchMaker
it would seem the alternating layer of the interior would point toward Daldinia.
I'll check more later.

Sava: Nice find, Luurt.
I've never come across these "cakes" and know nothing about them.
But last night, when your message arrived, I did look in Arora's DM and the description of Daldinia
(the last one in the book) seemed a good match.

Dick B: Based on color and spore size it would appear to me to be
between D. childiae or D. loculata.
I'm wondering if you have tried the color extraction technique mentioned in
Matchmaker under the notes section of D. childiae?
I would be interested to know what your results are if you try it.-

Luurt: I tried the KOH extraction.
I noticed not the slightest discoloration in the supernatant liquid.
I made the 10% solution fresh. It's possible that my KOH crystals
were so old that they had formed a carbonate compound instead of
hydroxide, but I doubt it.
If I didn't mess the KOH extraction up, then what identification can I make?

Dick B: Several are listed as sometimes having no color so I would guess that it
only means something if you get a definite color. D. childiae is not one of
these so I suppose we would have to eliminate it from consideration. How
about the color of the granules under surface? They look reddish or orangish
to me but I'm not sure that is what I'm seeing.