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Description: Fruiting bodies are usually large, vary in shape, from narrow and upright, globose, through to flattened against the substrate. They are mostly black, although a few have rich orange or purple colours. A few genera of Xylariaceae are have microscopic fruiting bodies immersed in the substrate, these are not treated here. All fungi in this family have dark ascospores, mostly with a germ slit, some with a germ pore. Saprobic on wood or tree fern fronds. Fruiting bodies usually contain numerous perithecia arranged in a single layer just below the surface. In Rosellinia, Helicogermslitta and Astrocystis, the perithecia are single, although often grouped in large masses.

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