Bracket Fungi

Introduction to fungus biology

Ganoderma

Ganoderma

Above: Ganoderma applanatum (Artist's Fungus) - large perennial brackets up to 50 cm across that grow parasitically on the trunks of deciduous trees throughout the year and stain the trunk red with their shed spores. Seen here growing on Beech (Fagus sylvatica).

Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus sulphureus (Polyporus sulphureus) - Sulphur Polypore, Chicken of the Woods grows on deciduous tress, especially Oak and Sweet Chestnut.

Chicken of the Woods

The Sulphur Polypore's sporing bodies appear in autumn.

Chicken of the Woods

Below: I think this is a pale specimen (perhaps a bit old and dry) of Sulphur Polypore.

Chicken of the Woods?

Piptoporus

Birch Polypore

Above: Piptoporus betulinus - The Birch Polypore grows on Birch trees and its sporing bodies can be seen throughout the year. the undersurface is whitish and porous. Young birch polypores provide winter food for reindeer (Ramsbottom, 1989). See more Birch Polypore.

Birch Polypore

Birch Polypore

Coriolus

Coriolus versicolor

Coriolus versicolor (Trametes versicolor) - The Many-zoned Polypore, Rainbow Bracket Fungus. Grows on fallen and decaying wood of deciduous trees and can be found all year round.

Rainbow Bracket

Rainbow Bracket

Rainbow Bracket

Rainbow Bracket

Rainbow Bracket

Phlebia

Rainbow Bracket

Above and below: Phlebia tremellosa (Merulis tremellosus) - Trembling Merulius is found on decaying stumps and logs of deciduous trees. The spore-releasing surface consists of an irregular network of pores with a gelatinous or waxy appearance.

Phlebia

Above and below: Phlebia tremellosa (Merulis tremellosus) - Trembling Merulius.

Phlebia

Phlebia

Schizophyllum commune (Split Gill Fungus)

Split Gill fungus

Split-gill fungi possess pseudogills (false gills) which are folds of tissue that increase the surface area of spore-generating tissue but which are not developed into true gills.

Split Gill fungus

Phellinus tuberculosus

Phellinus

Phellinus tuberculosus forms short stubby brackets or cushions. It occurs on the trunks and undersides of branches of Prunus (as here - growing on a cherry tree). The brackets are up to 10 cm in diameter but only 1 to 2 cm thick.

Phellinus

Phellinus

Chondrostereum

Chondrostereum

Above: Chondrostereum purpureum (Purple Bark Fungus) occurs on broadleaf trees, especially trees of the Rose family, such as Plum and Cherry (Prunus genus) but others too, including Salix (Willow) and Birch (Betula). Sometimes the fungus forms encrusting mats, but often it forms overlapping tiers of small brackets. The bases of the brackets in this case are partially encrusting at their bases, creating a curious morphology.

Chondrostereum is a basidiomycete bracket fungus that has no pores.

This fungus causes silver-leaf disease. In this disease the leaves develop a silver sheen which results from separation of the epithelium from the underlying mesophyll (see leaf structure) and scattering of light by the resultant air spaces. This reduces photosynthesis and eventually kills the tree. The fungus does not actually infect the leaves, but rather it infects trees through wounds in the stem or branches and its hyphae reach the xylem where it obtains nutrients. It appears unable to digest the wood itself (since it does not secrete lignolytic enzymes but rather degrades cellulose and the pectin 'glue' that holds plant cells together). These enzymes released into xylem are responsible for the silvering of the leaves which eventually kills the tree. The sporing bodies of the fungus then develop on the dead tree.

Chondrostereum purpureum has been used as a biological control agent in forest plantations to control trees like Birch and Red Alder. This is a potentially risky strategy, ecologically speaking! A model of spore plume dispersal, which assumed a Gaussian dispersal curve, suggested that any susceptible tree within 500 m of a tree bearing sporing brackets is particularly vulnerable to infection and only trees more than 5000 m away were predicted to be exposed to natural background levels of spores and so at low risk. Conversely, it is considered a pest in fruit orchards.

References:

De Jong, M.D. et al. 1990. Risk analysis applied to biological control of a forest weed, using the Gaussian plume model. Grana 29: 139-145.

Simpson, R.M. et al. 2001. Extracellular enzymes of Chondrostereum purpureum, causal fungus of silverleaf disease. New Zealand Plant Protection 54: 202-208.


Inonotus

Inonotus brackets

Shown here is Inonotus radiatus (Alder Bracket) an annual fungus with a porous lower surface which is parasitic on trunks of alder and occasionally on other trees such as Birch (as here). It is known by a number of alternative names (synonyms) including Mensularia radiata. Its brackets grow in tiers.

Inonotus brackets

Inonotus brackets


Bjerkandera

Burnt Polypore

Above: Bjerkandera adusta (Burnt Polypore). This annual fungus is a white rot fungus of dead hardwood, such as tree stumps, logs and fallen branches. White rot fungi digest both the lignin and the cellulose in the wood by secreting enzymes such as lignin peroxidase, leaving a white fibrous residue 9as opposed to the brown powdery residue left by brown rot fungi. (Brown rot fungi degrade only the cellulose, causing the wood to shrink and crumble into cubical fragments).

Burnt Polypore

Above: the polyporus brackets form on vertical surfaces and are sometimes distinct individual semicircular brackets p to 4 to 8 cm across, but are more usually irregular and overlapping, forming tiers of clustered and coalescing brackets. Note the yellow Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare) fungi also growing on this log. The upper surface of each bracket is grey-brown with a pale margin, the undersurface is covered in minute pores that are greyish-white in color, but darkening with age.

This fungus can be found all year round but spores in the autumn. The flesh of the sporing body consists of a single type of hypha (this species is monomitic): generative hyphae that each produce basidia bearing 4 basidiospores and which are thin-walled at the marginal growth zone, but the walls thickening with age and the leathery/rubbery structure tears without too much difficulty, breaking in a 'cheese-like manner'. This is in contrast with Coriolus versicolor which is trimitic, meaning the flesh contains 3 types of hyphae: generative hyphae but also unbranched skeletal hyphae with thick cell-walls and, in the thicker parts of the bracket, thick-walled highly branched binding hyphae which weaves the other hyphae together, creating a much tougher texture.

Burnt Polypore

Above and below: fungi are often very variable and on the same substrate where it was growing on a horizontal surface, Bjerkandera adusta was seen here  producing a more encrusting growth form, producing small mushroom-like towers, and often tinged lilac. It is important to appreciate how growth conditions and age can affect the appearance of a fungus. These two growth forms were in continuation on the same substrate and there was no reason to suspect they were different species, but rather the effects of gravity and orientation on growth.

Burnt bracket

Below: this growth form begins as a small more-or-less circular encrusting growth. Young parts of the body are often covered in fine hairs.

Burnt Polypore

Burnt Polypore

Burnt bracket

Burnt bracket

Introduction to fungal biology

Bracket Fungi

Gasteromycetes

Disc and Coral Fungi

Jelly Fungi

Toadstools

More Toadstools

Useful web sites:

http://joebartok.blogspot.com/2011/10/confusing-fall-fungi.html

https://www.naturespot.org.uk/taxonomy/term/19709

Article created: 3 Nov 2020