Belonging to the Xylariaceae family, the Daldinia Concentricia is an unusual inedible fungus also referred to as Cramp Balls, King Alfred's cakes, coal fungus, and Daldinia fissa. It is considered a xerophytic which means that it doesn't require any water to survive. This fungus usually grows as a sporocarp on dead or dying ash, citrus, oak, pine, or chestnut tree branches. They can be found in North America and Europe. When the fungus is cut open is displays numerous black and white concentric rings. Each of the rings hold the breeding season, and counting each layer reveals the age of the saprobe.
Daldinia Concentricia are very easy to identify. Young fungus have a color of a reddish brown, hard and round shaped. Size varies 1-7 cm in diameter. Once matured, the color changes to a jet black.
They have no stem, they're connect directly to the tree branch. Fresh fungus frequently occur during the seasons of Summer and Fall. Although older fungus can live for years. Some has said that the appearence resembled burnt bread or cake.
Other names King Alfred's cakes, Cramp balls, Charcoal balls, Daldinia fissa, King Alfred's burnt cakes,