Ascomycota > Ascomycetes > Xylariales.
Classification is still not settled and there is a huge range in the estimated number of genera and species.
There are 7 (9) families, the most commonly seen being the Diatrypaceae and Xylariaceae.
Most species have black, carbonaceous bodies which often give the appearance of a tarcrust or burned wood.
Single peritheca may occur in groups or many may be closely combined in a common stroma.
Spores are produced by asci lining the walls of the flask-like peritheca.
As an absloute novice I find the Xylariales Order very confusing to try and identify.
i. The species in a particular genus can be very different.
ii. Very similar species occur in more than one genus, family or even another order e.g.
some species in Lasiosphaeria closely resemble some Xylaria species.
iii. Classification is not settled and species and genera get moved around with some references using the old name,
others the new name and some saying they are the same.
An example of this is the 2006 change when some species of Hypoxolon were moved to the new genus Annulohypoxylon.
Some authors still use Hypoxylon for them all, and others, as recently as 2016, use them as synonyms.
I have attempted to sort my specimens out but, apart from a few distinctive genera such as Daldinia, with no great confidence.
Also, my microscope is not adequate for examining spores.
Nevertheless I have included some of them to give a general idea of the Order.
Family Diatrypaceae includes Anthostoma, Diatrype and Diatrypella.
Many Diatrypaceae are macroscopically very similar.
Family Xylariaceae includes Annulohypoxylon, Daldinia, Hypoxylon, Kretzschmaria and Xylaria.
They are among the most commonly seen Ascomycetes.
Some are plant pathogens, others live on dead wood.
It is a diverse group.