A roadside oak host to Pseudoinonotus dryadeus

The radio silence for the past five days has been because I was away on holiday. Of course, that didn’t mean I was away from the realm of trees, as I managed to visit a few forests and woodlands, the RSPB reserve at Minsmere, and also explore the local landscape. Ironically, for all the searching I did in heavily-treed landscapes (Dunwich Forest, Reydon Woods, and the wooded area at Minsmere), one of the ‘best’ finds was by pure chance whilst walking through a local village going back to my car after walking through Reydon Woods. Around the base of a large roadside oak (Quercus robur), sat the remnants of some old Pseudoinonotus dryadeus sporophores.

Evidently, the location of the tree, its lean (with the direction of the prevailing wind from the south west), and the presence of sporophores on two sides of the base (the southern side and the eastern side), may make a proper assessment of the tree quite a necessity. Ideally-speaking, some sonic tomograms (PiCUS / ARBOTOM) and resistograph readings can be taken, to enable any management decisions to be supplemented with results from investigations into the structural properties of the wood around the base of the tree. On the southern side, we can indeed see that the sporophore emanated from between two buttresses, suggesting that some reaction growth has been laid down (this correlates with the fungus’ common name ‘ eiffel-tower fungus’). However, on the eastern side no such buttressing exists.

In terms of how the decay got there, a resident actually came out to speak with me about the tree when he saw I was taking photos. Turns out there were trenching operations for gas works in the very near locale a few years ago, and therefore perhaps the damage incurred at that point is a factor to consider (at least, when it comes to assessing the structural integrity of the tree, as the road seen in the images and the trenching was to the south-western side; this is the tension side of the tree, due to the prevailing winds). Of course, the presence of a quite marked buttress zone suggests that perhaps the decay pre-dated this trenching work, though this is again only an assumption. Not having lived in the area, or having any wider amount of context, my speculations are just that.

Pseudoinonotus dryadeus Quercus roadside 1
The oak tree in question, on a narrow roadside verge.
Pseudoinonotus dryadeus Quercus roadside 2
A look at the base of the oak tree shows the two large sporophores.
Pseudoinonotus dryadeus Quercus roadside 3
The southern sporophore sits between two buttresses, with the more distant one likely being the tree’s main tension root.
Pseudoinonotus dryadeus Quercus roadside 4
The eastern sporophore was evidently quite massive, though is probably at least 6-9 months old (assuming it grew during the last ‘active’ season).
Pseudoinonotus dryadeus Quercus roadside 5
Clearly, the sporophore was also struck by something, as a few fragments were scattered around the grass area surrounding the tree.

 

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A roadside oak host to Pseudoinonotus dryadeus

2 thoughts on “A roadside oak host to Pseudoinonotus dryadeus

    1. Without question. I reported the tree to the local authority, as I think they really need to formally inspect it. I mentioned in my email that consideration into root damage, as a result of historic and more recent construction works, should factor into the inspection process. The road being on the tension side of the tree perhaps means that the oak’s tension roots are lacking, though of course this is only speculation on my part as I cannot see what’s going on underground. I’d be curious to know whether there is any records of Armillaria colonisation on the oak, be it a parasitic species or more saprophytic one.

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