A collection of Kretzschmaria deusta shots from Dunwich Forest

Dunwich Forest is laden with planted pine trees that are thankfully being cleared by the Forestry Commission, in order to enable for regeneration of broadleaved woodland and heathland (would this perhaps instead be regression?), and subsequent re-wilding. Adjacent to the monocultured pine stands, which comprise large tracts of the site, reside some mixed broadleaved woodland, from which seedling regeneration will no doubt stem – beech (Fagus sylvatica), birch (Betula pendula), and oak (Quercus robur) are three species that exist in more discernible numbers, and regeneration of the light-demanding species birch and oak can already be seen amongst the gorse (which F.W.M. Vera would dub the ‘mantle and fringe’ vegetation, and something which is to be entirely expected). Heathland will also regenerate, with assistance of grazing ungulates and human management processes, to provide habitat for gorse (Ulex europaeus) and heather, amongst other species.

Anyway, the history and management of Dunwich Forest, whilst interesting, is not the point of my post. Instead, this post is to showcase a few examples of Kretzschmaria deusta, which I spotted on a few beech trees in close proximity to one another, alongside the road that cuts the Forest in half from north west to south east. The photos below are from three trees, which I am sure you’ll be able to discern apart from one another.

kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 1
Look to the bottom left buttress.
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 2
As we can see, the fungus Kretzschmaria deusta can be seen to be producing sporophores within this buttress. The outwardly healthy wood atop that extends out quite markedly suggests that perhaps reaction wood has been laid down, in response to the decay.
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 3
From the other side of the stem, we can see how the root (to the right) is quite significantly jutting out from the tree’s stem.
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 4
On this beech tree, we can observe how the fungus has colonised the basal region in an area where dysfunctional wood is exposed.
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 5
A little closer in this one, and we can really spot how easy it is to recognise the fungus in its active stage (grey and white colouration).
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 6
Looking in even more closely, there appears to be a lot of ‘spent’ sporophores around the currently active ones.
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 7
The third beech is perhaps the most interesting. A large stem wound, stretching up to nearly 3m in height, is fully colonised by Kretzschmaria deusta. This is different, as in my experience I have only observed the fungus at heights of below 1m on the stem. Usually, it’s only around the butt. Not so here, of course.
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 8
The lowest part of the wound,
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 9
Moving up towards the central region.
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 10
Slightly above the central region.
kretzschmaria deusta ustulina fagus 11
Zooming in up to much nearer the top. Still, we can see active and spent sporophores.
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A collection of Kretzschmaria deusta shots from Dunwich Forest

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