Bracket Fungi

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  Amazing Kingdom Of Fungi Addendum  

Bracket Fungi (Division Basidiomycota Order Polyporales) &
Corticioid Fungus (Division Basidiomycota Order Atheliales)

Bracket fungi include the tough, woody, shelf-like growths on the trunks of dead trees. Some species are serious parasites of living trees. The upper side often shows concentric striations that represent successive years of growth. Ages of 50-70 years have been recorded for some species. The lower surface is composed of numerous minute pores through which astronomical numbers of spores are released. Some of the largest and thickest bracket fungi are called conks. Artist's conk of the Ganoderma applanatum group can be up to three feet (0.9 m) across and eight inches (20 cm) thick. According to David Arora (Mushrooms Demystified, 1986), large conks may liberate 30 billion spores a day for a period of six months. This is 5,000,000,000,000 or 5 trillion spores annually.

Conks of the genus Ganoderma

Varnished conk (Ganoderma lucidum), so named because of the shiny surface. This specimen was collected from the trunk of a willow (Salix).

A large specimen of varnished conk (Ganoderma lucidum) collected from the trunk of a willow (Salix). This specimen measured eleven inches (28 cm) across.

The underside of varnished conk (Ganoderma lucidum) is whitish-yellow when fresh, but turns brown with age.

Close-up view of the underside of varnished conk (Ganoderma lucidum) showing numerous spore-bearing pores. The porous surface turns brown when written on.

Polyporaceae: Phaeolus schweinitzii? (Bracket Fungus)

Bright Yellow Bracket (Shelf) Fungus On Base Of Eucalyptus globulus.

Could this be a young Laetiporus gilbertsonii?

Turkey Tail Mushroom In My Backyard In San Marcos, CA

Turkey tail mushroom (Tramates versicolor) and tuberous sword fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia) in my backyard. This fungus is used in Chinese herbal medicine to boost the immune system and for its anti-tumor properties.

Another Bracket Fungus In My Yard

This bracket fungus was on the dead stump of a carrotwood tree (Cupaniopsis anacardioides). It might be in the genus Ganoderma, a member of the large fungus order Polyporales.

Dry Rot Fungus In My Backyard Patio

A small, polyporous fungus related to conks. Like the conks, the fruiting body is tough and woody. The underside is composed of numerous spore-bearing tubes or canals. This particular fungus was growing on a 2 x 8 ft. board of an outdoor patio in San Diego County, California. The mycelium permeated the hollow dead cells of the board, extracting nutrients from the cell walls. Fungi that digest the cellulose and leave the lignin behind are called "carbonizing decays" or "brown rots" because they make the wood dry, brittle and darker than the original wood. Fungi that digest cellulose and lignin are called "delignifying decays" or "white rots" because they make the wood soft, spongy and whiter than the original wood. In this case, the board contained hollowed out pockets lined with mycelial threads. Fungal infections such as this are often called "dry rots," and together with termites, cause considerable damage to houses in southern California. Boards infested with dry rot need to be replaced because they have lost their structural integrity. Carpenter bees often explore dry rot areas of rotten wood to build their nests.

A female worker carpenter bee (Xylocopa varipuncta). Carpenter bees bore into wood and make tunnel-like nests. They inhabit a variety of wood objects, including fence posts, building timbers and telephone poles. This species exhibits sexual dimorphism because the males are golden-brown and very different in appearance.

This portion of a board once formed the ceiling of a patio in San Diego County. The wood contains hollowed out pockets lined with mycelial threads from a fungus related to conks. Fungal infections such as this are often called "dry rots," and together with termites, cause considerable damage to houses in southern California. Boards infested with dry root need to be replaced because they have lost their structural integrity. In the forest, rot fungi are very beneficial because they decompose stumps and fallen dead trees, thus returning their massive remains back to the soil. Without decay fungi, logs and fallen trees would litter the forest for countless centuries.

Interesting Polyporous Fungus In My Crushed Rock

This is a species of Poria (Oxyporus), possibly P. corticola. Like other members of the Order Polyporales it produces numerous, spore-bearing tubes. It is described as "resupinate," lying flat on the substrate without a cap or stalk as in typical mushrooms; however, it smells like a mushroom. In fact, P. cocos were consumed as food by native Americans. Poria are also eaten and used in soups and herbal remedies in China. Diced P. cocos are available on Amazon! It typically grows on logs and roots of forest trees. I have no idea why it was growing on the crushed rock path in front of my house. Perhaps it was feeding on buried roots of a nearby tree or shrub.

Corticioid Fungus (Division Basidiomycota Order Atheliales)
Atheliaceae is a family of corticioid fungi placed under the monotypic order Atheliales. Corticioid fungi belong to the division Basidiomycota including many saprophytic soil fungi that are important in the decay of wood and organic matter. They are also called “crust fungi.” Despite its morphological simplicity, members of Atheliaceae vary widely in terms of ecological strategies. A number of species are known to be saprotrophs of needle and leaf litter, while some species of Amphinema, Byssocorticium, Piloderma, and Tylospora are ectomycorrhizal symbionts. They sometimes constitute a major component of the mycorrhizal communities. Subsequently, parasitism has been observed in Athelia arachnoidea, which targets lichens. Lichen formation has been suggested to occur in Athelia epiphylla, which is also associated with the white rot of Populus tremuloides. A species of Athelia also engaged in a symbiotic relationship with termites of the genus Reticulitermes, in which the fungus forms sclerotia that mimic termite eggs and worker termites handling the sclerotia as if they were eggs. The presence of the sclerotia in the nest appears to enhance egg viability, while the fungus might be dispersed to new substrates.

Atheliaceae members are also quite widespread, with most of the discovered species occurring throughout the northern temperate regions. They are mostly found in moist environments, on substrates such as soil, humus, leaf litter, and wood.

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