Cool fungal finds in the urban streets

Winter is getting on but fungi are still doing their thing, and below are two of the better ones I found this last week. The chances are that those of you reading this have seen these two fungi before, though what is curious about the below tree-fungi relationships is either the spectacular arrangement of the fungi on the host or the unusual host species.

Abortiporus biennis (blushing rosette) on Sorbus intermedia (Swedish whitebeam)

This association is posted as it’s just a really great example of what this fungus can achieve – with regards to sporophore (notably as a teleomorph, where a hymenium is present and there is sexual reproduction) production – with the right conditions. The poor Swedish whitebeam certainly has seen better days, and has evidently died either nearly or entirely. Thus, the mycelium of the blushing rosette is having a field day, and is devouring the principal roots, as we can clearly see from the below images.

Many sporophores of Abortiporus biennis encircle the stem, sitting at around 20-60cm out from the fulcrum.
And now we begin to circle the stem…
This one is certainly mature!
And this one is an anamorphic mess!
These are some of the teleomorphic sporophores, and thus produce spore via basidia.
And this one is the most photogenic of them all. It has awarded itself with a rosette and blushed accordingly. Yeah, bad joke…!

Ganoderma resinaceum on Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’

The lacquered bracket is supposedly rare, in the UK – nationwide, perhaps. However, in the south east of England, it’s actually rather frequent, and is usually found on oak and less so beech. However, there do spring up a few more obscure hosts, and beyond seeing it on willow and poplar, I have now also seen it on the broadleaved cockspur thorn. A search of records indicates no prior record of this association between fungus and tree, and therefore perhaps this is the first time it has been observed. Honestly, I doubt it, as people see things everyday and don’t inform the correct fungal authorities (namely Kew Gardens, for the Fungal Records Database), though it is nonetheless a really awesome find and it did make my afternoon!

Even the sun is illuminating this thorn!
Huzzah! Relative fungal devastation going on down there – plenty of brackets, and thus plenty of white rot. Not a good day to be a broadleaved cockspur thorn.
A little closer and we can see the lacquered upper surface being obscured slightly by the brown spore released by Ganoderma resinaceum.
And closer yet again, solely for good effect.
And a cross-section. Cutting into the brackets of Ganoderma resinaceum is not that easy, as they have quite a rubbery resistance to them. Use a very sharp blade for a clean cut!
Cool fungal finds in the urban streets

It pays to look up

When deciduous trees lose their foliage, somtimes it gives us the opportunity to spot defects and issues otherwise not at all discernible (by virtue of the foliage obscuring vision). In the case of the below hybrid black poplar, this was indeed the case, for atop the structure sat some blackened and weathered fruiting bodies (sporophores) of the common wood-decay fungus Cerioporus squamosus (formerly Polyporus squamosus).

Clearly, the heavy pruning the tree has suffered previously facilitated (one would expect) in the ingression of penetrative hyphae, following the germination of a spore upon the exposed sapwood, given this species’ typical colonisation strategy (sapwood exposed – unspecialised opportunism). To be honest, it’s in fact rather typical of poplars (and willows, as well as some maples) to have some quite awesome decay columns following heavy pruning, and thus this poplar fits the stereotype quite nicely.

What’s next for this poplar? One would at least propose a reduction, and potentially push a heavier one, though the sporophores are isolated to this one region and therefore perhaps the other limbs are not colonised. Granted, this is perhaps wishful thinking, as there is a good chance the entire upper crown is colonised, and either the colonies didn’t fruit or the fruiting bodies fell and were then moved (as there could be more than one secondary mycelium – where two separate and genetically-different hyphal structures meet and reproduce spore sexually via basidia).

It always pays to look up.

An urban poplar in a typical urban poplar condition – pruned!
Look closely and you’ll see it. Hint – top middle.
Peeka-boo! A nice little spot to set up shop, that is – nice and sheltered.
Too close for comfort? Not yet!
Okay now that’s too close! You can’t smell the cucumber aroma it has from that far away!
It pays to look up