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.
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!
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).