Polyporus squamosus

Polyporus squamosus (Huds.) Fr.

Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Polyporales
Family: Polyporaceae
Genus: Polyporus
Species: squamosus

 

Polyporus squamosus, is a bracket fungus which is commonly found in North America, Australia, Asia and Europe. This polypore can be found on dead logs and living hardwoods. They can be either saprobic on decaying logs or parasitic on living hardwoods.

P. squamosus has a kidney shaped or fan shaped cap covered with dark brown colored radially arranged scales. The upper side of the body is yellow to brown color and the cap is 5-30 cm across and 1-4 cm thick. The underside of the body is covered by pores which are running down the stem as a tightly packed tube layer. These tubes are up to 1.5 cm long. The fruiting body is attached to the substrate at one point with a thick, 2-8 cm long, off-centered stem (Figure 1). The spore print of P. squamosus is white (Figure 2). Spores are long-ellipsoid and roughly 10-15 x 4-5 µ (Figure 3).

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Figure 1: Polyporus squamosus growing on living tree trunk. A: The upper side of the fruiting body having scales. B: The underside of the fruiting body with pores

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Figure 2: The spore print of Polyporus squamosus

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Figure 3: Microscopic image showing the spores of Polyporus squamosus

 

 

References:
Kuo, M. (2015, April). Polyporus squamosus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com
Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/polyporus_squamosus.html

Gonthier, P., & Nicolotti, G. (2007). A field key to identify common wood decay fungal species on standing trees. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, 33(6), 410.

http://www.librifungorum.org/Image.asp?ItemID=34&ImageFileName=SyllogeFungorum6-79.jpg

 

Author: Malini Jayawardana
Date Posted: 10-08-2018



Lactifluus hygrophoroides

Lactifluus hygrophoroides (Berk. & M.A. Curtis) Kuntze

Formerly belonging to the Lactarius genus, this species was moved to Lactifluus subg. Lactifluus (autonymous) in 2012. L. hygrophoroides can be recognized via a velvety pale orange cap/stipe, white non-staining latex (as opposed to Lactarius volemus, which looks similar but stains brown), and spaced gills. The cap of this mushroom ranges from 3-10 cm, starting convex and flattening over time (Fig 1). When exposed to potassium hydroxide, the cap will stain pale olive (Fig. 3). The stipe is 3-5 cm long and 0.5-1.5 cm wide with coloring very similar to the cap. The gills are slightly decurrent and lighter than the cap/stipe, often entirely white. When damaged, a bright white latex is released, turning pale yellow over time (Fig. 2). The spores are white, elliptical, 7-9 x 5.5-7 µm, with ornamentation under 0.5 µm (Fig. 4). It is mycorrhizal with oaks (see oak leaves in Fig. 1), and can be found anywhere from Texas to eastern North America throughout the summer.

 

Figure 1. L. hygrophoroides growing under oaks near a river in sandy soil.

 

Figure 2. White latex released from the gills of L. hygrophoroides.

 

Figure 3. A pale olive color on the cap following KOH contact.

 

Figure 4. Spores of L. hygrophoroides viewed at 1000x.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taxonomy

Basidiomycota

Agaricomycotina

Agaricomycetes

Russulales

Russulaceae

Lactifluus

hygrophoroides

 

Basionym: Lactarius hygrophoroides

 

References

Kuo, M. (2011, February). Lactarius hygrophoroides. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/lactarius_hygrophoroides.html

Kuo, M., & Methven, A. S. (2014). Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press.

Verbeken, A., Van de Putte, K. and De Crop, E., 2012. New combinations in Lactifluus. 3. L. subgenera Lactifluus and Piperati. Mycotaxon120(1), pp.443-450.

Author: Nikki Lukasko
Date Posted: 10-03-2018



Cantharellus cinnabarinus

Cantharellus cinnabarinus (Schwein.) Schwein.

 

The red chanterelle, native to eastern North America, has a wide distribution. Found scattered or alone in summer and fall, it is easily recognized by its flamingo pink to cinnabar red pigments and well-spaced decurrent false gills. This species contains multiple carotenoids, but the most prominent is canthaxanthin. This phytochemical is common in nature, used as an additive in the food industry, and is being studied for a variety of medicinal applications. The convex cap is 1-4 cm across with a stipe 1-4 cm long and 0.5-1.5 cm wide. The pinkish-cream spores are smooth, ellipsoid, and measure 6-11 x 4-6 micrometers.

 

    

Figure 1. Mature C. cinnabarinus (left) and the characteristic false, decurrent gills (right). 

It is mycorrhizal with several hardwoods including oak, beech, aspen, and hickories. It smells fragrant or sweet and tastes peppery when cooked.

Figure 2. Conducive environment for C. cinnabarinus growth.

 

Taxonomy

Basidiomycota

Agaricomycotina

Agaricomycetes

Cantharellales

Cantharellaceae

Cantharellus

cinnabarinus

 

Basionym: Agaricus cinnabarinus

 

References

Kuo, M., & Methven, A. S. (2014). Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press.

Kuo, M. (2015, March). Cantharellus cinnabarinus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/cantharellus_cinnabarinus.html

National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database; CID=5281227, https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/5281227 (accessed Oct. 3, 2018).

Author: Nikki Lukasko
Date Posted: 10-03-2018



Suillus americanus

Suillus americanus (Peck) Snell, Chicken Fat Mushroom, PLP847_2018_351

S. americanus is a bolete found in eastern North American and is mycorrhizal with white pines, especially Pinus strobus. It was formerly called Boletus americanus Peck (1887), Ixocomus americanus (Peck) E.-J. Gilbert (1931), and Suillus americanus f. americanus (Peck) Snell (1944). This specimen cluster was located about 4 m from a Pinus strobus, in grass. It was collected in East Lansing, MI, just north of the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden.

The specimens are characterized by bright yellow, mucilaginous caps, about 4-5 cm in diameter. They are convex and slightly umbonate. The context is soft, when torn it bruises from yellow to light brown. The hymenium is yellow-brown and composed of pores, which are circular, about 1-2 per mm. Pores are larger near the stipe becoming smaller near the margin. Stipe is pale yellow to brown, slightly scabrous near the cap. Spores are oblong, brown print. S. americanus is considered an edible mushroom (Ostry et al. 2011), but it is known to cause contact dermatitis is certain individuals (Bruhn and Soderberg 1991). Its bright color and gregarious habitat makes it easy to spot when they are fruiting.

S. americanus 351 panel

Figure 1. A) S. americanus growing in grass in a large cluster. B) Collected basidiocarps of ranging size and maturity. C) Spores and basidia, stained with Cotton Blue (400X). D) Stipe detail, showing slight scabrous texture. E) Hymenium detail, showing angular and irregular pore size.

Bruhn JN, Soderberg MD. Allergic contact dermatitis caused by mushrooms. Mycopathologia. 1991 Sep 1;115(3):191-5.

Ostry ME, O’Brien JG, Anderson NA. Field guide to common macrofungi in eastern forests and their ecosystem functions. Government Printing Office; 2011.

Wu QX, Mueller GM, Lutzoni FM, Huang YQ, Guo SY. Phylogenetic and biogeographic relationships of eastern Asian and eastern North American disjunct Suillus species (Fungi) as inferred from nuclear ribosomal RNA ITS sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 2000 Oct 1;17(1):37-47.

Author: Julian Liber
Date Posted: 10-02-2018



Pholiota squarrosa (Vahl) P. Kumm.

Phylum: Basidomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Strophariacaea
Genus: Pholiota
Epithet: squarrosa
Authority: (Vahl) P. Kumm.
Collection #: PLP847_2018_172
Locale: Schoolcraft County, Michigan

Pholiota squarrosa, known as the shaggy scalycap or shaggy Pholiota, is the type species for the genus Pholiota. The genus name is derived from the Greek word Pholis, meaning ‘a scale,’ and the specific epithet, squarrosa, which translates to ‘with upright scales.’

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Figure 1. Pholiota squarrosa cluster growing at the base of a living maple tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ecology: Saprobic in clusters at the base of standing living or dead broad-leaf trees, particularly beech, and occasionally at the base of conifer stumps. This collection was found at the base of a living maple in a mixed forest (Fig. 1). It is thought that P. squarrosa is an opportunistic parasite and can attack trees that have been weakened by previous injury.

Morphology: Cap and stem are yellowish under the conspicuous reddish-brown scales for which this species is named (Fig. 2). Other members of this genus, including the very similar P. squarrosoides, have sticky caps, but P. squarrosa has a dry cap. Stem is 4-12 cm long and up to 1.5 cm thick. A partial veil covers the gills when young and is shaggy or cortina-like in appearance (Fig. 3). Mature specimens have an annulus and involute margin. Flesh is white to yellowish. Odor is garlic-like, mild, but somewhat unpleasant.

[image – closeup of fresh material]

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Figure 2. Close up view of the stipe of Pholiota squarrosa showing the prominent scales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Figure 3. Close up view of the cobweb-like partial veil of Pholiota squarrosa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spores: 5.5-9.0 x 3.5-5.0 μm; smooth; elliptical; with an apical pore; reddish-brown in KOH (Fig. 4). Spore print reddish brown (Fig. 5)

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Figure 4. Spores of Pholiota squarrosa. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Figure 5. Spore print of Pholiota squarrosa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edibility: Not edible, considered poisonous, especially when consumed with alcohol.

 

References:

Kuo, M. (2007). Pholiota squarrosa. MushroomExpert.com https://www.mushroomexpert.com/pholiota_squarrosa.html

https://www.first-nature.com/fungi/pholiota-squarrosa.php

Author: Douglas Minier
Date Posted: 10-01-2018



Xylaria Polymorpha

Taxonomy

  • Domain: Ascomycota
  • Class: Sordariomycetes
  • Order: Xylariales
  • Family: Xylariaceae
  • Genus: Xylaria
  • Species: Polymorpha

Xylaria Polymorpha(Persoon) is a saprobic ascomycete that is commonly known as deadman’s fingers(1). It is commonly found growing at the base of decaying hardwoods or beech trees. This species of Xylaria is very similar at first glance to Xylaria Longpipes, but can be distinguished by the absence of a distinct stem. Xylaria Polymorpha stays about the same width from top to bottom whereas longpipes is characterized by a thin stem widening to a club shape at the the top(figure one). One interesting feature of Xylaria Polymorpha is that contrary to the dark outside skin of the fruiting body, the flesh on the inside is distinctly white. The fruiting body is dense and nearly woody.  These fungi are frequently seen grown on the large roots of trees as seen in figure two. 

Figure two: In this image, the microhabitat of this Fungus growing on a large root extending from the base of a beech tree.

Figure One: The lack of a distinct stem can be seen as the shape remains essentially uniform. The white flesh can also be seen underneath the dark outer flesh.

Figure Four: An image of the asci containing spores in Xylaria Polymorpha(3).

 

Under a dissecting scope the white flesh in contrast to the dark outer skin is very clear as can be seen in figure three. The spores seems typical of ascomycetes and appear in asci containing dark colored rounded spores (figure four).

Figure Three: A microscopic image showing the white inner flesh(2).

Some interest has been generated in the use of Xylaria Polymorpha in medicine specifically as an antimicrobial agent. This fungus was shown to inhibit the growth of E Coli in culture experiments (4). It has also generated recent interest in the discovery of new lignin degrading and other interesting enzymes (5).

 

Sources:

1) Kuo, M., & Methven, A. S. (2014). Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press.

2) Tom Volk’s Fungus of the Month for April 2000. Tom Volk. https://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/apr2000.html

3) Xylaria Polymorpha (Dead Man’s Fingers). Michael Kuo. https://www.mushroomexpert.com/xylaria_polymorpha.html

4) Hacıoğlu, Nurcihan & Akata, Ilgaz & Dulger, Basaran. (2011). Antimicrobial potential of Xylaria polymorpha (Pers.) Grev. African Journal of Microbiology Research. 5.

5) Nghi, Do & Bittner, Britta & Kellner, Harald & Jehmlich, Nico & Ullrich, René & J Pecyna, Marek & Nousiainen, Paula & Sipilä, Jussi & Huong, Le & Hofrichter, Martin & Liers, Christiane. (2012). The Wood Rot Ascomycete Xylaria polymorpha Produces a Novel GH78 Glycoside Hydrolase That Exhibits -L-Rhamnosidase and Feruloyl Esterase Activities and Releases Hydroxycinnamic Acids from Lignocelluloses. Applied and environmental microbiology. 78. 4893-901. 10.1128/AEM.07588-11.

 

 

 

Author: Longley Reid
Date Posted: 10-01-2018



Phyllachora maydis

Phyllachora maydis (Maublanc)

Ecology and Morphology: Phyllachora maydis (Maubl.) is an obligate parasite of Corn (Zea mays) that was reported in Michigan for the first time in 2016. The Phyllachora genus contains many tarspot causing fungi, but P. maydis is the only pathogen capable of causing tarspot on corn.  P. maydis is considered a new and emerging pathogen of corn in the United States with the potential to cause yield loss. This pathogen has been found on a variety of hybrids, some expressing more resistance than others. Phyllachora maydis is easily identified by the small, black ascomata (1-5mm diameter) found throughout infected leaves which cannot be rubbed from the leaf. Necrotic halos surrounding  the black ascomata can regularly be seen throughout infected plants. P. maydis overwinters in plant debris and re-infections are thought to occur via windblown ascospores in mid-summer.  Ascospores are ellipsoid, aseptate and hyaline.

 

Taxonomy:

Kingdom:  Fungi

Division: Ascomycota

Class: Sordariomycetes

Order: Phyllachorales

Family: Phyllachoraceae

Genus: Phyllachora

Species: P. maydis

Figure 1. Phyllachora maydis (PLP847_2018_29) ascomata on infected leaves under 40x magnification.

Figure 1. Phyllachora maydis (PLP847_2018_29) ascomata with asci on infected leaves.

 

Figure 2. Plant infected with Phyllachora maydis.

Figure 2. Plant infected with Phyllachora maydis.

 

Figure 3. habitat photo with typical Phyllachora maydis infection.

Figure 3. habitat photo with typical Phyllachora maydis infection.

Literature:

Maublanc, A. 1904. Espèces nouvelles de champignons inférieurs. Bulletin de la Société Mycologique de France. 20(2):70-74

McCoy, A. G., Romberg, M. K., Zaworski, E. R., Robertson, A. E., Phibbs, A., Hudelson, B. D., … Chilvers, M. I. (2018). First Report of Tar Spot on Corn ( Zea mays ) Caused by Phyllachora maydis in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Plant Disease, PDIS-02-18-0271. https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-02-18-0271-PDN

Ruhl, G., et al. 2016. Plant Dis. 100:1496.

Author: Austin Mccoy
Date Posted: 09-24-2018



Hypomyces chrysospermus

Hypomyces chrysospermus (Tul. & C. Tul.)

Ecology and Morphology: Hypomyces chrysospermus is a parasitic fungal species that primarily infects Bolete fungi. Numerous Boletes within a given area can be infected and appear completely white. H. chrysospermus completely covers infected mushrooms with floccose hyphae, causing them to appear completely white in its early infection. However, later in the season the white coloring will turn to yellow as the parasite decomposes the infected mushroom. H. chrysospermus will have 3 different spore morphologies depending on its age. This collection was made early on in the infection process (white stage) and thus has smooth, ellipsoid spores. No intact asci were observed.

Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Fungi

Phylum: Ascomycota

Class: Sordariomycetes

Order: Hypocreales

Family: Hypocreaceae

Genus: Hypomyces

Species: Hypomyces chrysospermus

Figure 1. Bolete parasitized by H. chrysospermus

Figure 1. Bolete parasitized by H. chrysospermus

 

Figure 2. Ovoid, smooth spores of H. chrysospermus.

Figure 2. Smooth, ellipsoid spores of H. chrysospermus.

Literature:

Tulasne, L.-R.; Tulasne, C. 1860. De quelques Sphéries fongicoles, à propos d’un mémoire de M. Antoine de Bary sur les Nyctalis. Annales des Sciences Naturelles Botanique. 13:5-19

Marrone, T., & Yerich, K. (2014). Mushrooms of the upper Midwest: A simple guide to common mushrooms. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications.

 

Author: Austin Mccoy
Date Posted: 09-24-2018



Bondarzewia berkeleyi

Bondarzewia berkeleyi (Fr.) Bondartsev & Singer, Berkley’s Polypore, PLP847_2018_128

B. berkeleyi has been historically classified as a polypore, but with the advent of molecular techniques, it was revealed to be more closely related to Russala than the polypores (Hibbett and Donoghue 1995). Previous names used for B. berkeleyi have included: Polyporus berkeleyi Fr. (1851), Grifola berkeleyi (Fr.) Murrill (1904), and Polyporus eurocephalus Berk. & Broome (1875).

The specimen collected was found in the soil about 0.5 m away from a Quercus macrocarpa trunk, on a forested riverbank by the Red Cedar River in East Lansing, MI. The specimen was cream-colored, with slight radial banding, and the pileus formed lobes about 10-20 cm wide. The hymenium is cream and has angular pores. Spores are white, ornamented and globular.  The overall cluster was about 30 cm tall.

B. berkeleyi is limited in distribution to eastern North America where it is the only species of the genus (Song et al. 2016). The fungus can be pathogenic on trees, especially Quercus and Acer (Gilbertson and Ryvarden 1986). It is considered edible (Boa and Boa 2004).

Bondarzewia berkeleyi panel

Figure 1. A) Basidiocarp at the base of a Quercus macrocarpa. B) Hymenium of the specimen, showing angular pores. C) Habitat where the specimen was found, on a forested riverbank. D) Spore at 1000X, showing light color and ornamentation.

Division: Basiomycota

Subdivision: Agaricomycotina

Class: Agaricomycetes

Order: Russulales

Family: Bondarzewiaceae

Site: 42.73051119,-84.48478613

Boa ER, Boa E. Wild edible fungi: a global overview of their use and importance to people. Food & Agriculture Org.; 2004.

Hibbett DS, Donoghue MJ. Progress toward a phylogenetic classification of the Polyporaceae through parsimony analysis of mitochondrial ribosomal DNA sequences. Canadian Journal of Botany. 1995 Dec 31;73(S1):853-61.

Gilbertson RL, Ryvarden L. North American polypores 1. Fungiflora, Oslo 1986.

Song J, Chen JJ, Wang M, Chen YY, Cui BK. Phylogeny and biogeography of the remarkable genus Bondarzewia (Basidiomycota, Russulales). Scientific reports. 2016 Sep 29;6:34568.

Author: Julian Liber
Date Posted: 09-23-2018



Claviceps purpurea

Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul., Ergot Fungus, PLP847_2018_127

C. purpurea is a parasite of grasses in the subfamily Pooidae, and was found on Elymus repens in East Lansing, MI. C. purpurea produces dark purple to brown sclerotia which grow in infected ovarian tissue of the host grass. The fungus infects through the stigma and begins growing in the ovary after 3 days. Eventually, the entire ovary is replaced by fungal tissue (Shaw and Mantle 1980). Pažoutová et al. 2015 determined that C. purpurea can be divided into four species based on gene flow and a multigene phylogeny, including C. purpurea sensu stricto, C. humidiphila, C. spartinae, and C. arundinis. In the United States, all sclerotia found on Elymus repens were in C. purpurea sensu stricto. The ITS1F-LR3 contig confirms this grouping for isolate PLP847_2018_127.

Other names for this species have included Sphaeria purpurea Fr. (1823), Cordyceps purpurea (Fr.) Fr. (1849), and Pseudocenangium purpureum (Fr.) A. Knapp. The fungus is known for its production of ergot alkaloids (Flieger et al. 1997), many of which are quite toxic but pharmaceutically useful (ergotamines, ergoxines, ergotoxines, ergoannines). There is even a popular hypothesis, maybe unlikely, that contamination of grain with C. purpurea in Salem was involved in the town’s infamous witch trials (Woolf 2000).

Features of Claviceps purpurea PLP847_2018_127

Figure 1. A) The sclerotia appeared dark brown, about 10 mm in length, growing in one to several sclerotia per spike on Elymus repens. B) The habitat was a grassy margin under Juglans nigra, outside of Baker Woodlot. C) Cut sclerotia, revealing the purple surface and white interior. D) The cells inside the sclerotia appear cuboid and to contain lipid vesicles (1000X).

Division: Ascomycota

Subdivision: Pezizomycotina

Class: Sordariomycetes

Subclass: Hypocreomycetidae

Order: Hypocreales

Family: Clavicipitaceae

Site: 42.71887467,-84.47776228

Flieger M, Wurst M, Shelby R. Ergot alkaloids—sources, structures and analytical methods. Folia microbiologica. 1997 Feb 1;42(1):3-0.

Pažoutová S, Pešicová K, Chudíčková M, Šrůtka P, Kolařík M. Delimitation of cryptic species inside Claviceps purpurea. Fungal Biology. 2015 Jan 1;119(1):7-26.

Shaw BI, Mantle PG. Host infection by Claviceps purpurea. Transactions of the British Mycological Society. 1980 Jan 1;75(1):77-90.

Woolf A. Witchcraft or mycotoxin? The Salem witch trials. Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology. 2000 Jan 1;38(4):457-60.

Author: Julian Liber
Date Posted: 09-23-2018



Phallus Ravenelii

Taxonomy:

  • Phylum: Basidiomycota
  • Class:Agaricomycetes
  • Order: Phallales
  • Family: Phallaceae
  • Genus: Phallus
  • Species: Ravenelii 

Phallus Ravenelii (Berkeley & M.A. Curtis) is a saprobic basidiomycete of the genus Phallus that can be found growing in various habitats. The habitats in which it may be found range from areas such as lawns and gardens to woodchips and meadows. The mature fruiting body of this fungus is characterized by a long spongey stipe leading to a brown cap. The cap is characterized by brown spore containing secretions as well as a white portion on the top of the cap(figure one). It can be distinguished from the morphologically similar Phallus Hadriani by the presence of a smooth cap instead of one that contains pits and ridges. The stipe is about 3 cm thick with a spongey texture on the outside and a hollow inside.

One of the other important identifying characteristics of this mushroom is the strong odor associated with it; giving it the common name of Ravenel’s Stinkhorn. This mushroom is named after the botanist, Henry William Ravenel who discovered it in 1846. Along with a strong odor, the cap is a prolific spore producer as seen in the spore print figure two.

    Figure one: Phallus Ravenelii found growing on the edge of soil and grass in a stand of hardwoods

Figure two: Spores produced from the cap of Phallus Ravenelii

The spores of Phallus Ravenelii are ellipsoid and appear smooth under the microscope as can be seen in figure three.

Figure three: Spores of Phallus Ravenelli from https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/viewSpecies.php?species=13201

Sources: 

Kuo, M., & Methven, A. S. (2014). Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press.

The Maryland Biodiversity Project – Ravenel’sStinkhorn https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/viewSpecies.php?species=13201

About Henry William Ravenel: http://ravenel.cdh.sc.edu/about

 

 

 

Author: Longley Reid
Date Posted: 09-23-2018



Leucocoprinus birnbaumii

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii (Corda) Singer (1962) is a common mushroom in flowerpots (Fig 1). It is a saprobe that colonizes rich organic material, including indoor flowerpots. The cap begins as an egg-shaped ball, which grows into a bell-shaped cap, often ornamented with scales. The bright yellow color makes this mushroom easily identifiable, but the cap will often fade to white/beige over time. The spores are ellipsoid with a pore at one end (Fig 2), with a white spore print. L. birnbaumii was reported as Agaricus luteus in 1785, but that species name was already taken by another mushroom, leading to the use of Lepiota lutea for many years, until a taxonomic consensus was reached.

Figure 1: L. birnbuamii in succulent pot (PLP847_2018_87)

 

 

L birnbaumii spores

Figure 2: L. birnbaumii spores (http://www.mushroomexpert.com/leucocoprinus_birnbaumii.html)

Phylum: Basidiomycota

Class: Agaricomycetes

Order: Agaricales

Family: Agaricaceae

Genus: Leucocoprinus

Species: birnbaumii

 

 

 

 

 

Other notes: L. birnbaumii is not harmful to the plants in the pots it grows in, nor is it poisonous to the touch. Do not eat L. birnbaumii, as it is likely toxic in large amounts.

References:

http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/feb2002.html

http://www.mushroomexpert.com/leucocoprinus_birnbaumii.html

https://nature.berkeley.edu/brunslab/ev/vellinga_nomencl_v47_feb2009.pdf

https://books.google.com/books?id=MiMhAQAAMAAJ&vq=luteus&dq=editions%3AHUN_blmaTp0C&pg=PT189#v=onepage&q=J.%20Caygill&f=false

 

Author: Rebecca Shay
Date Posted: 09-22-2018



Parasola auricoma

Parasola auricoma (Pat.) Redhead, Vilgalys & Hopple is a small, short-lived, fragile, saprobic mushroom that is common in woodlands, mulch, and grassy areas. This fungus was previously classified as Coprinus auricomus in 1886 by Narcisse Théophile Patouillard, but like many fungi, it has been reclassified due to the development of molecular techniques. In 2001, the Coprinus genus was split into three monophyletic genera, Coprinopsis, Coprinellus, and Parasola.

Figure 1. Habitat (A) and close up (B) of inky-cap species Parasola auricoma

Mushrooms in the Parasola genus have large ridges on the top of the cap, along with a central “eye” that is often dark brown or orange-brown (Fig. 1). These fungi produce heavy black spore prints, giving them the “inky” reputation. P. auricoma has a few inky-cap look-alikes, but can be distinguished from other species using a few macro and microscopic features. Examining the connection between gills and stipe provides a macroscopic distinction, as P. auricoma gills connect directly to the stipe (adnate or adnexed, Fig. 2) while P. plicatilis gills do not (free). In addition, young P. auricoma mushrooms have orange-brown caps (Fig. 3) that develop into the pleated grey-brown mature cap, while young mushrooms of the look-alike species P. plicatilis are lighter in color, either off-white or yellow-orange. Microscopically, both produce black spore prints but the shapes of the spores have obvious differences. P. auricoma has oval-shaped spores with rounded edges (Fig. 3) while P. plicatilis has oval-shaped spores with points, shaped like a lemon (limoniform) or tear-drop.

Figure 2. Macroscopic features of Parasola auricoma featuring orange-brown cap with eye (A), white, hollow stipe (B), and attached intermediate gills (C).

Figure 3. Various life stages of Parasola auricoma for collection (A), and dark brown basidiospores (B) with an oval shape and rounded edges (C).

Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Psathyrellaceae
Genus: Parasola
Species: auricoma
Collection Number: PLP847_2018_104

References:
Drake, A. Parasola auricoma (Pat.) Redhead, Vilgalys & Hopple. First Nature. https://www.first-nature.com/fungi/parasola-auricoma.php

Kuo, M. (2011, June). Parasola auricoma. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/parasola_auricoma.html

Author: Mitch Roth
Date Posted: 09-17-2018



Ustilago maydis

Ustilago maydis (DeCandolle) Corda is a biotrophic pathogen of corn (Zea mays). It is called “common smut” of corn because it is quite common throughout North America, though it is more commonly found in dry conditions. Other Ustilago spp. cause smut on other plants, but U. maydis is the only species that causes smut on corn, and this host specificity makes it easy to identify the fungus to the species level. The fungus has an interesting life cycle containing dikaryotic and haploid stages. The white “blisters” often seen on a developing corn cob (Fig. 1) are actually tumor-like galls produced by the fungus, containing many black teliospores.

Figure 1. Corn field (left) harboring many cobs infected with Ustilago maydis (right).

 

As the gall matures, the fleshy surface begins to break down, releasing the teliospores that can be spread through wind, contact with humans and animals, or surfaces of field equipment. The teliospores are circular,  dark-brown to black, and echinulate, or “decorated with many spines” (Fig. 2). These teliospores are used for overwintering. They are diploid, but germinate and develop a short hyphal tip that can produce many haploid basidiospores. These haploid basidiospores can fuse to form a dikaryon, which then proceeds to form an appressorium that can infect living corn tissue. It is seemingly most effective at invading rapidly growing corn tissues, such as fertilized corn cob silks and ovaries, resulting in smut commonly found on developing kernels. Though culinary appeal of the fungus may be debatable, the fungus is edible and is considered to be a delicacy to some Latino cultures, known by the name “huitlacoche”. The genome for Ustilago maydis was sequenced in 2006 and is a model organism for studying biotrophic plant-fungal pathogenic interactions.

Figure 2. Round, dark brown-black, echinulate teliospores from erupting U. maydis galls.

Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Ustilaginomycetes
Order: Ustilaginales
Family: Ustilaginaceae
Genus: Ustilago
Species: maydis
Collection Number: PLP847_2018_99

References:
Kämper, J. et al. 2006. Insights from the genome of the biotrophic fungal plant pathogen Ustilago maydis. Nature. 444:97-101. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05248
Pataky, J. K., and K. M. Snetselaar. 2006. Common smut of corn. The Plant Health Instructor. DOI:10.1094/PHI-I-2006-0927-01
Brefort, T. et al. 2009. Ustilago maydis as a Pathogen. Annu Rev Phytopathol. 47:423-445. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-080508-081923

Author: Mitch Roth
Date Posted: 09-17-2018



Hypomyces lactifluorum

Hypomyces lactifluorum (Schweinitz) Tulasne and C. Tulasne

Ecology and Morphology: Hypomyces lactifluorum is a mycoparasite on select Lactarius and Russula species growing amidst both conifers and hardwoods and can most often be found in the summer and fall months. This fungus will completely cover its host with orange perithecia, giving it a rough, warty appearance and texture. The parasitized mushroom fruiting body, when thoroughly engulfed by this mycoparasite will be firm, fairly hard, and somewhat brittle. Spore deposits from the parasite are white, while the ascospores themselves are hyaline when viewed under a compound microscope. Ascospores are spindle-shaped and measure roughly 35 x 43 x 6-7.5 µm.

Taxonomy:

Kingdom:        Fungi

Division:         Ascomycota

Class:             Sordariomycetes

Order:             Hypocreales

Family:            Hypocreaceae

Genus:             Hypomyces

Species:           H. lactifluorum

 

Figure 1. Hypomyces lactifluorum (PLP847_2018_200). H. lactifluorum parasitizing a large Lactarius spp. fruiting body growing in leaf litter on the floor of a hardwood forest. (left). The underside of the mushroom, showing even more of the warty texture of this mycoparasite (right).

Figure 2. Hypomyces lactifluorum (PLP847_2018_200). The warty texture and color of the orange perithecia covering the surface of the parasitized mushroom (A). The white spore deposit produced from H. lactifluorum (B). A broken perithecium (orange portion) with exposed asci (C). Spindle shaped ascospores contained within the long, slender asci (D).

Figure 3. The hardwood forest environment in which this mushroom was found and which is a typical habitat for H. lactifluorum.

 

References:

Kuo, M., & Methven, A. S. (2014). Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press.

Kuo, M. (2003, January). Hypomyces lactifluorum: The lobster mushroom. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/hypomyces_lactifluorum.html

Volk, T. (2001). Tom Volk’s Fungus of the Month for August 2001. University of Wisconsin La-Crosse. Retrieved from Tom Volk’s fungus of the month: https://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/aug2001.html

Wood, M., & Stevens, F. (2017). California Fungi—Hypomyces lactifluorum. The Fungi of California. Retrieved from Mycoweb.co: http://www.mykoweb.com/CAF/species/Hypomyces_lactifluorum.html

 

 

Author: Sara Getson
Date Posted: 09-16-2018



Exsudoporus frostii (J.L. Russell) Vizzini, Simonini & Gelardi

bolete_pic1

Figure 1. Exsudoporus frostii (PLP847_2018_185) fruiting bodies with red caps, deep and raised reticulation on stalks (left picture). Characteristic of the Exsudoporus genus, golden to yellow drops exude from the underside of fresh specimens (right picture).

Exsudoporus frostii (J.L. Russell) Vizzini, Simonini & Gelardi (Basidiomycota, Boletaceae) is a conspicuous bolete found in broadleaf or mixed forest throughout the eastern United States. Mature fruiting bodies (summer and fall) produce notable blood-red to apple-red caps, deeply reticulated stalks and dark red pores that when fresh ooze golden droplets (Fig. 1).  The pileus is convex to nearly plane with age, 5-15 cm wide and often with a lighter yellow margin. Chemical spot tests stain the cap bright orange KOH (Fig. 2) and yellow NH4OH. Tubes stain dark blue to black when cut and extend 6-15 mm deep (Fig. 2). Basidiospores are 11-17 µm by 4-5 µm, subfusiform to ellipsoidial, smooth and pale brown in color (Fig. 2). The stipe is 4-12 cm long and 1 – 2.5 cm wide, slowly stains blue and lacks a partial veil and annulus (Fig. 2). Prominent reticulation is continuous over the entire stipe and the stipe is red and sometime yellow at the base. The raised reticulation and dark red cap E. frostii help to distinguish it from less-prominent reticulation and lighter colored cap of E. floridanus.

bolete_2

Figure 2. Exsudoporus frostii (PLP847_2018_185) stipe and tubes rapidly stain blue after being cut (top and bottom, left). Chemical spot test stains the cap bright orange in KOH (top right). Basidiospores subfusiform, smooth and pale brown in color (bottom right).

Other comments: In the genus name, ‘exsudo’ is latin for “to come out in sweat, exude”. Thus, the genus Exsudoporus is aptly comprised of three species (E. frostii, E. floridanus and E. russellii) that exude “sweat” through their pores, when they are young, in the form of golden to yellow droplets. Further, the species name ‘frostii’ is reported homage to Charles C. Frost (1805 to 1880) the “shoe maker botanist”. Frost cobbled shoes for 49 years (started at age 15) in Battleboro, VT. He became a mycologist under his doctor’s orders that (for treatment of severe heartburn), “he devote an hour each morning and an hour each afternoon to the observation and study of plants in the fields”. Between 1845 and 1875, Frost cataloged numerous New England fungi. He had 60 first reports, 40 of which were boletes and gill-fungi, and all the while maintaining his full-time vocation as a shoe maker.

References:

Syn = Boletellus frostii J.L. Russell

Bessette, A.E., Roody, W.C. and Bessette, A.R. 2000. North American boletes: a color guide to the fleshy pored mushrooms. Syracuse University, Press, Syracuse, NY.

Bessette, A.E., Roody, W.C. and Bessette, A.R. 2016. Boletes of eastern North America. Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, NY.

Murrill, W.A. 1908. Notes on the life and work of Charles C. Frost. Torreya, 8(8), 197-200.

Simpson, D.P. 1977. Cassell’s Latin Dictionary: Latin-English, English-Latin. Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc., New York, NY.

Vizzini, A. 2014. Nomenclatural novelties. Index Fungorum, 183.

Author: Doug Higgins
Date Posted: 09-11-2018



Cladonia macilenta Hoff. (syn. C. bacillaris Nyl.)

Habitat Picture

Figure 1. Cladonia macilenta (PLP847_2018_186) found on dead wood in a northern dry pine forest in Michigan’s upper peninsula (Luce County).

Cladonia macilenta Hoff. (Ascomycota, Cladoniaceae) is a widely distributed fruticose lichen found primarily on dead wood and tree bases, but occasionally over soil and rocks (Fig. 1). The species has a twofold thallus. The primary thallus is squamulose (separate or overlapping scales). Light-brown, erect and stalk-like podetia (4 to 35 mm in length) arise from the primary thalli (Fig. 2A). Typical of the Cladoniaceae family podetia are hollow (Fig. 2B). In C. macilenta podetia are also sorediate (responsible for their green appearance), rarely branched, do not form cups and have sporadic squamules.  Lichens are symbiotic associations between fungi (ascomycete) and algae or cyanobacteria. In the case of C. macilenta, its photobiont is a green alga. Green algae cells are intertangled in fungal hyphae to form globose, farinose soredia nearly continuous over the entire podetia and uniform in size (Fig. 2C). Apothecia are rare. Instead, soredia serve as the primary vegetative propagule.

Micro - characteristics

Figure 2. Cladonia macilenta (PLP847_2018_186) podetia arising from squamulose primary thalli (A). A hollow podetium, typical characteristic of the Cladoniaceae family (B). Powdery, globose bundles of hyphae and green algae (soredia) covering the podetia (C).

Other comments: Reported to occasionally contain usnic acid. Usinc acid is a secondary metabolite unique to lichens with potential commercial application in the fields of cosmetics, medical, perfumery and nutrient supplements. Also, chemical spot tests for the specimen presented here (PLP847_2018_186) were PD – (para-phenylenediamine) and K -(potassium hydroxide). Two chemical races of C. macilenta are often described. The first chemical race is PD-, K-, C – (sodium hypochlorite) and KC + yellow to orange, and is sometimes reported as C. bacillaris. While, the second chemical race is PD+ orange, K + yellow, KC-, and C-.

Reference:

Brodo, I. M. 2016. Keys to lichens of North America: revised and expanded. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

Brodo, I. M., Sharnoff, S. D., and Sharnoff, S. 2001. Lichens of north America. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

Ingolfsdottir, K. 2002. Usnic acid. Phytochemistry 61:729-736.

Author: Doug Higgins
Date Posted: 09-09-2018



Collections Blog

  • Macroscopic (field photos) of fungus & habitat
  • Species ID & Collection number
  • Microscopic image (spores, any other key characters)
  • Habitat description
  • Phylogeny & taxonomy
  • Macroscopic characters
  • Microscopic characters 
  • Chemical reactions
  • Ecology
  • Other notes
  • Citations & Relevant literature 
Author: Admin1
Date Posted: 08-24-2018



Astraeus hygrometricus

Astraeus hygrometricus is commonly known as the hygroscopic earthstar or the false earthstar.

 

Ecology: Commonly found in open or disturbed areas in woodlands; scattered to gregarious. Fruits from late fall to mid-winter but persisting in good condition for up to a year.  Not edible. Distributed in America and Europe.

Morphology

Fruit body: 1–5cm broad, round, outer wall gray to bown, exoperidium splitting into 6–15 pointed rays thick, leathery, the inner surface cracked, grey to brown becoming hard and leather-like when dry.

Spore sac: 1–3cm broad, globose, buf-brown pallid to dark greyish, thin and papery opening by a slit or tear forming an irregular pore. Gleba at first white and cocoa-brown at maturity.

Spores: brown, globose and finely warted, 7–10.5µ in diameter.

 

 

Sources:

The Fungi of California. Copyright © 1997-2016 Michael Wood & Fred Stevens. A MykoWeb Page: http://www.mykoweb.com/CAF/species/Astraeus_hygrometricus.html

 

Rogers Plants Ltd. © 2001-2016 All rights reserved. http://www.rogersmushrooms.com/gallery/DisplayBlock~bid~5578~gid~~source~gallerydefault.asp

Author: Viviana Ortiz
Date Posted: 12-27-2016



Trametes hirsuta

 

Ecology: Saprobic on the deadwood of hardwoods (very rarely reported on conifer wood); annual; causing a white rot; growing in clusters on logs and stumps; summer and fall; widely distributed across North America.

 

Morphology

 

Cap: Up to 10 cm across and 6 cm deep; semicircular, irregularly bracket-shaped, or kidney-shaped; often fusing laterally with other caps; very densely hairy; often finely, radially furrowed; with concentric zones of texture; zones with gray, whitish, and brownish shades, but usually not contrasting markedly; margin often brownish to brown or blackish.

 

Pore Surface: Whitish, becoming a little brownish, grayish, or yellowish with age; with 3-4 circular to angular pores per mm; tubes with fairly thick walls, to 6 mm deep.

 

 

Flesh: Insubstantial; whitish; tough and corky.

 

Chemical Reactions: KOH on flesh negative to dull yellow.

 

Spore Print: White.

 

Microscopic features: Spores 6-9 x 2-2.5 µ; smooth; cylindric; inamyloid. Cystidia absent. Hyphal system trimitic.

 

 

Source:

Kuo, M. (2010, March). Trametes hirsuta. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/trametes_hirsuta.html

Author: Viviana Ortiz
Date Posted: 12-27-2016



Chlorophyllum rhacodes

 

Ecology: Saprobic; typically growing in troops or fairy rings in disturbed-ground areas like roadsides, gardens, and the edges of fields. Often near conifers. C. rhacodes fruits in fall and it is widely distributed.

 

Morphology

Cap: 5-20 cm; dry; convex to nearly round when young, becoming flat or very broadly bell-shaped; at first bald and brownish but soon breaking up so that the center remains smooth (or cracked) and brown, but the rest of the surface consists of shaggy scales with brownish tips over a whitish background.

 

Gills: Free from the stem; close; white or when mature pale brownish

Stem: 10-20 cm long, 1-3 cm thick; with a bulbous base that sometimes has a prominent rim at the top of the bulb; bald; white, bruising and discoloring brownish; with a high, double-edged, moveable ring.

Flesh: Whitish throughout, but typically turning pinkish orange, then slowly brownish when sliced; thick.

Spore print: White.

Microscopic features: Spores 6-13 x 5-9 um; smooth; ellipsoid; dextrinoid and with a small pore. Cheilocystidia broadly clavate to clavate.

 

 

Source:

Kuo, M., & Methven, A. S. (2014). Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press.

Author: Viviana Ortiz
Date Posted: 12-27-2016



Stropharia rugosoannulata

Stropharia rugosoannulata collected in Michigan State University gardens.

Ecology and relevance to society: Saprobic, often growing scattered (sometimes in clusters) on wood chips, in gardens and in other cultivated areas. S. rugosoannulata fruits in spring through fall and it is widely distributed. The wine capped form is edible and good, however, edibility for the white form is not reliable documented.

Morphology

Cap: 4-15 cm; convex or broadly convex to flat; sticky when fresh,  but often dry when collected, sometimes developing cracks in old age. Color is wine red to reddish brown, whitish throughout development.

 

Gills: Attached to the stem; whitish to pale gray at first, becoming purplish gray to purple black.

 

Stem: 7-15 cm long. 1-3 cm thick; dry; equal or with an enlarged base, bald or finely hairy; white discoloring yellowish to brownish in age. A characteristic feature is the presence of a thick ring that is finely grooved on its upper surface (and often blackened by spores) and radially split on its underside .

Spore print: Dak purple brown to blackish

 

Microscopic features: Spores 10-14 x 6-9 um; smooth and broadly ellipsoid. Chrysocystidia present.

Chemical reactions: KOH olive green on cap of red form and yellow on cap of white form.

Source:

Kuo, M., & Methven, A. S. (2014). Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press.

 

 

Author: Viviana Ortiz
Date Posted: 12-16-2016



Phallus rubicundus

 

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Phallales
Family: Phallaceae
Genus: Phallus
Species: P. rubicundus

 

Phallus species are fungi commonly known as stinkhorn. They were first mentioned by a Dutch botanist Hadrianus Junius (1511–1575), in 1564. He wrote a short book describing them, and emphasized he was not convinced that the mushroom was a fungi species. Phallus rubicundus is a species found in Africa, Asia, South America, and North America, and it is very commonly found in gardens, lawns, and yards, in areas where rotten wood and mulch are present. It was first described in 1811, by French botanist Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc, who formally described it under the name Stayrus rubicundus. In 1823, it was transferred to the genus Phallus, and given the binomial name Phallus rubicundus, by Elias Fries. It received this name because of its phallic appearance when mature, and its red color. Another characteristic of this fungus is its foul odor, which attracts insects and makes them the most important way of spores dispersal. They can be smelled from long distances, even when they are only emerging.

Stinkhorns emerge from a 25mm in diameter underground egg. Initially it stands erct, but it rapidily shrivels and sags. The stem is orange-pinkish and its cap is spherical to egg-shaped, its fruit body is about 20cm tall, up to 1.5 cm thick, and it is covered with a smelly olive brown fleshy spore bearing inner mass.

They can be easily confused with Mutinus elegans, but they have a distinctly separated cap that distinguishes them from Mutinus spp.

 

Young Phallus rubicans found in the gardens of MSU.

Young Phallus rubicundus found in the gardens of MSU.

Mature Phallus rubicundus outside of PSM building, at MSU

http://www.mushroomexpert.com/phallus_rubicundus.html

https://www.messiah.edu/Oakes/fungi_on_wood/stinkhorn/species%20pages/Phallus%20rubicundus.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallus_rubicundus

Author: Jacque Gleason
Date Posted: 12-16-2016



Mortierella exigua

Figure 1. Concentric growth of Mortierella exigua.

Zygomycetes are an interesting group of fungi that have recently undergone a large reclassification (Spatafora et al. 2016). They do not produce large fruiting bodies, so they are often overlooked by your average mushroom hunter. However, zygomycetes like the Mortierella spp. (Figure 1) are often well represented in soil assays of fungal diversity. They also grow on a wide variety of other substrates: dead wood, leaves, and even other fungi! Recently, we reported on an interesting fungi known as Daldinia concentrica – a perennial fungus that can often be mistaken for a piece of charcoal (a mistake which we almost made ourselves). On another isolate of Daldinia concentrica from Baker Woodlot at MSU we noticed a strange white dusting (Figure 2 – white dusting surrounding the chipped away region in the center of the D. concentrica fruiting body) that piqued our interests. Unsure of what it could be, we plated it on water agar just to see if anything would grow. Lo and behold, about one week later there were signs of life – more than we had hoped in fact.

Figure 2. Daldinia concentria next to the water agar plate where small scrapings from the white-powdery region were plated.

We noticed a number of nematodes swimming about, and some fungi are known to be nematophagous (nematode consumers) so we waited a few more days to see if we saw any signs of nematode trapping structures though none were seen. We did, however, see what appeared to be many globose, terminal spores (not pictured). At this time the unknown zygomycete was subcultured on complete media and allowed to grow for several days, after which time it produced the beautiful concentric growth form you see in Figure 1 – this is a key identifying feature of some zygomycetes, including Mortierella spp. Mortierella spp. are difficult to key out morphologically, so we decided to identify these through DNA sequencing. When the sequencing results came back, based on ITS1, they identified our isolate as Mortierella exigua Linnem. 1941. The ITS1 sequences were submitted to GenBank and at the time of this writing are awaiting review.

Literature Cited:

Spatafora JW, Stajich JE, Benny GL, Smith ME, Berbee ML, Corradi N, Grigoriev I, James TY, Donnell KO, Roberson RW (2016) A phylum-level phylogenetic classification of zygomycete fungi based on genome-scale data. Mycologia 108: 1028–1046

Author: Patrick Abeli
Date Posted: 12-16-2016



Entoloma abortivum

img_0991

Figure 1. Entoloma abortivum, showing various ‘aborted’ and one non-aborted mushroom.

Entoloma abortivum (Berk. & M.A. Curtis) Donk, also known as shrimp-of-the-woods, is mushroom in the family Entolomataceae (Figure 1). First described in 1859 as Agaracis abortivus by Berkeley and Curtis, E. abortivum has undergone many renamings over the years, though it still bears the name of the original describer today since its last renaming in 1949 by M.A. Donk.  Commonly found in hardwood forests throughout the eastern United States and Canada, E. abortivum is reported to be edible, though not choice. Writer’s warning: be absolutely sure of any identification, and check with multiple sources, before consuming any reportedly edible mushroom. Always cook any wild mushroom thoroughly before eating. Please enjoy responsibly.

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Figure 2. The base of the stipe (stem) of E. abortivum showing filamentous mycelia and an enlarged base.

The cap is a steel-grey with an inrolled margin when young, becoming mostly flat in age. Underneath the cap, the gills that make up the hymenium are decurrent with the stipe, which is fancy mycology speak for “the gills appear to run down the stem“. The stem, or stipe, is rather ovoid in cross-section, and can be off-center of the cap. The base of the stipe can be enlarged and often is found among filamentous mycelia (Figure 2). The spore print has been noted as ‘pink’ though, in my mind, I see a brownish-pinkish-brown but I’ll let you be the judge (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Spore print of E. abortivum, supposedly pink, though looks rather pinkish-brownish to me.

Figure 3. Supposedly pink spore print of E. abortivum.

The ‘aborted’ form of E. abortivum (Figure 1; top) – from which the species gets its name – was first thought to be fruiting bodies that had never fully developed, and thus ‘aborted.’ However, it was later found that these ‘aborted’ fruiting bodies were in fact composed of intermingling hyphae of two fungi: E. abortivum and a species of Armillaria, a well-known pathogenic genus of fungi (Watling 1974). Therefore, it was hypothesized that the Armillaria spp. was parasitizing the E. abortivum leading to the abnormal growth pattern. Over the year, doubt began to creep in to this hypothesis, and eventually the exact opposite was found to be true – the E. abortivum is actually parasitizing the Armillaria spp! For a more in-depth, and first hand, take on this story, head on over to Tom Volk’s blog or take a look at the publication that came out of their investigations (Czederpiltz et al. 2001).

Literature Cited

Czederpiltz DL, Volk TJ, and Burdsall HH. 2001. Field observations and inoculation experiments to determine the nature of the carpophoroids associated with Entoloma abortivum and Armillaria. Mycologia, 93(5), 2001, pp. 841-851.

Watling, Roy. 1974 Dimorphism in Entoloma abortivum, Bull. Soc. Linn. London, Num. Spec. 43:449-470.

Author: Patrick Abeli
Date Posted: 12-16-2016



Phallus impudicus

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Phallales
Family: Phallaceae
Genus: Phallus
Species: P. impudicus

 

Phallus impudicus is a fungus commonly known as stinkhorn. It was first described in 1597, by botanist John Gerard, in his book General History of Plants. Later, in 1753, Carl Linneus formally described this fungus, and named it exactly how it is named now. This binomial name derives from Latin and means “immodest penis”. It received this name because of its phallic appearance when mature. Another characteristic of this fungus is its foul odor, which attracts insects and makes them the most important way of spores dispersal. They can be smelled from long distances, even when they are only emerging.

It looks like these mushrooms have been around for a long time. It is found in some articles how Etty Darwin, Charles Darwin’s granddaughter, describes her effort to kill stinkhorn mushrooms, and describe how she needs to kill them to protect the morals of the female maids: “Armed with a basket and a pointed stick, and wearing special hunting cloak and gloves, she would sniff her way round the wood, pausing here and there, her nostrils twitching, when she caught a whiff of her prey; then at last, with a deadly pounce, she would fall upon her victim, and poke his putrid carcass into her basket. At the end of the day’s sport, the catch was brought back and burnt in the deepest secrecy on the drawing-room fire, with the door locked; because of the morals of the maids”.

Stinkhorns emerge from a 4-8cm in diameter underground egg, have white stipe that persists for several days after insects have eaten the gleba, and its cap is covered with a smelly olive green fleshy spore bearing inner mass.

Phallus impudicus is commonly throughout Europe and in North America. They are edible mushrooms, but only regularly consumed in a few countries. They are eaten in France, and in parts of Germany it is treated as a delicacy.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallus_impudicus

http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/phallus-impudicus.php

 

Author: Jacque Gleason
Date Posted: 12-15-2016



Podosphaera clandestina

Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
Class: Leotiomycetes
Subclass: Leotiomycetidae
Order: Erysiphales
Family: Erysiphaceae
Genus: Podosphaera
Species: P. clandestina var.clandestina

 

Powdery mildew is a common disease of tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). It is caused by the ascomycete Podosphaera clandestina. This disease is characterized by a white mass of fungal growth on susceptible tissue. Much of this white mass consists of conidia, which are spread by wind to other new leaves and shoots, causing infection and consequently malformation of leaves, reduced vigor and reduced viability of buds. It also causes uneven ripening of fruits and makes mechanical harvest more difficult.

Podosphaera clandestina overwinters as cleistothecia on the orchard floor, on diseased, fallen leaves and on infected buds. When infected buds expand in the spring, they are overrun by the fungus, which attacks new tissues. Increase of disease depends on temperature and humidity. It is more common when temperatures are between 50 and 780F (10-260 C), and humidity is around 90%, but it can also occur when humidity is low.

Control of disease can be done with use of protectant fungicide on susceptible plants, use of biological fungicides like Serenade, which have a bacterium named Bacillus subtilis as the active ingredient, use of eradicant fungicide at first sign of infection (once disease is spread, control with fungicide becomes difficult), use of Sulfur, and use of cultural practices such as pruning.

Podosphaera clandestina spores

White masses of powdery mildew disease in sour cherry

http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/fphg/stone/diseases/powdery-mildew

http://www.metos.at/tiki/tikiindex.php?page=Podosphaera+clandestina+(Powdery+Mildew)+risk&structure=Disease+models

http://eol.org/pages/6446276/details

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podosphaera_clandestina_var._clandestina

Author: Jacque Gleason
Date Posted: 12-15-2016



Gymnosporangium globosum

Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Urediniomycetes
Subclass: Incertae sedis
Order: Uredinales
Family: Pucciniaceae
Genus: Gymnosporangium
Species: G. globosum

 

Cedar-Hawthorn rust is a disease caused by a fungal pathogen called Gymnosporangium globosum, which has as hosts members of the genus juniperus, crataegus, malus, pyrus and amelanchier. This fungus requires two living hosts plants in order to complete its life cycle. It must move from one host to another, in this case (Cedar-Hawthorn Rust) from juniper spp. to crataegus spp.

Galls develop on infected junipers, and when mature produce reddish-brown, pointless, gelatinous horns during rainy spring weather. They release spores that are infectious to the other hosts. These spores are dispersed through wind at night and early morning to fruit or leaves of the broadleaf host (hawthorn). Infections will occur if moisture is available for 4-6 hours, and temperatures are adequate. When the spots appear on the surface of leaves, light colored bristles appear on the underside of these leaf spots. In late summer, these structures will release spores that will infect the juniper host, completing the life cycle.

Even though the bright red and orange leaf spots and the gelatinous galls calls attention to the leaves, the disease rarely causes serious damage to its hosts.

You can manage this with fungicide applications beginning when flowers are opening, use of resistant cultivars and avoiding planting the two hosts close together.

Infected fruits and leaves of Hawthorn tree

 

Leaf spot on Hawthorn tree

Sources: http://extension.psu.edu/pests/plant-diseases/all-fact-sheets/cedar-apple-and-related-rusts

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/cedar-apple-rust-and-gymnosporangium-rusts/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnosporangium_globosum

Author: Jacque Gleason
Date Posted: 12-14-2016



Physcia sp.

Physcia species are lichenized fungi belonging to the family Physciaceae. According to an estimate made in 2008, the genus contains about 70 species. At the macroscopic level, the thallus of these species can be foliose, small and adpressed, with a greenish-brown color that can coalesce to cover large areas. The lower surface is normally white and the upper surface, where soredia are found can have a yellowish-green color. The apothecia are frequent in most of the species, and they have a cup-like shape, black inside, with smooth, swollen margins.

These species have been extensively found in the United States in dusty environments, growing in all type of substrates (e.g. wood, metal). Our particular specimen was found in central Michigan, growing in the metallic part of a bridge over the Red Cedar River.

Reference:

Elix, J. A. (1898). Physciaceae. Retrieved from https://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/lichenlist/Physciaceae.pdf

Author: Julian Bello
Date Posted: 12-14-2016



Bisporella citrina


Kingdom: Fungi

Phylum: Ascomycota

Class: Leotiomycetes

Order: Helotiales

Family: Helotiaceae

Genus: Bisporella

species: citrina

Description: Bisporella citrina, otherwise known as “yellow fairy cups” is a saprobic species, part of the Ascomycota. It usually grows on wet decaying conifer logs, in large clusters, and has characteristic yellow to orange apothecia. The fruiting body (apothecia) is very small only about 3 mm in diameter, and often smaller, and bright yellow. They do have a small stalk or stem which is barely visible without magnification. Ascospores are 9-15 μm long and 3-5 μm wide and have two small oil droplets (Kuo, 2008).

This species was first described as Peziza citrina, by Batsch in 1789. After being renamed a number of times, it was formally classified as Bisporella citrina in 1974, by Korf and Carpenter.

Ecology and human relavence: This species is saprobic and is generally regarded as inedible, but I doubt it would be worth collecting enough to cook since it is so small.

Kuo, M. (2008, October). Bisporella citrina. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/bisporella_citrina.html

Korf, R.P. and Carpenter, S.E. 1974. Bisporella, a generic name for Helotium citrinum and its allies, and the generic names Calycella and Calycina. Mycotaxon. 1(1):51-62
Author: Zach Noel
Date Posted: 12-13-2016



Calvatia gigantea

Fresh specimen of Calvatia gigantea

Kingdom: Fungi

Phyla: Basidiomycota

Class: Agaricomycetes

Order: Agaricales

Family: Agaricaceae

Genus: Calvatia

Species: C. gigantea

Description: Calvatia gigantea known as a giant puffball can be easily identified by its giant size. Large hemispherical fruiting body is very similar to ball. It is one of the largest fungi in the world. The largest giant puffball weighted forty-eight pounds and was eight feet, and eight inches in diameter. It was estimated that a single ten-inch giant puffball has as many as 7 trillion spores. If each spore grew and yielded a ten-inch puffball, the combined amount of puffball mass would be 8—times that of the earth. It is incredible!

The first description of giant puffball was by German naturalist August Johann Georg Kalr Batsch in 1786. He called this fungus Lycoperdon giganteum. Later in 1904 Curtis Gates Lloyd an American mycologist and pharmacist change its name to current name.

Spores of Calvatia gigantea

Stem (stipe) Giant puffball does not have any stem but it attached to the ground via string like attachment. Flesh: White flesh when is fresh. It is an edible mushroom but flesh has to be white all the way through to be edible. If flesh is not white and turning yellow to brownish and green color are past their prime and should not be eaten. The texture of giant puffballs should be soft, like cutting a loaf of bread. Spores: Spores 3-5.5 x 3-5 μ, round or nearly so; minutely spiny or nearly smooth. Spore print is olive-brown color. Odor/Taste: Very faint, pleasant, no distinctive taste.

Ecology notes: Giant puffballs are saprotorophs meaning they feed on dead organic matter. Mostly they found on lawns, fields, field edges, and occasionally hardwoods. They usually appear during fall season. Giant puffballs usually re-appear at the same place each year.

Relevance to humans: Edible and very recognizable mushroom. It has been used as a styptic medicine. It used to reduce bleeding by using spores and for wound dressing. It also has anti-cancer agent calvacin that was isolated from young fruit bodies. However there is no information if it this still used in present time

Giant puffballs white flesh. One of the identification of edible stage of giant puffball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

www.mushroomexpert.com

www.blog.mycology.cornell.edu

www.first-nature.com

 

Author: Saltanat Mambetova
Date Posted: 12-13-2016



Erysiphe alphitoides 

 

Erysiphe alphitoides is a species of fungus which causes powdery mildew on oak trees. The fungus can be easily recognized trough the distinctive disease symptoms. It produces white powdery patches on shoots and buds of oaks. The disease progresses to form a felt-like, white mildew growth. Large portions of the plant, especially leaves, may be infected (Figure 1A-B). Late in the season, small spherical, dark brown-to-black fungal structures (cleistothecia) may be seen mixed within the felt-like mildew (Figure 1C).

The white mycelium growing in the leaves is in charge of extracting nourishment from the host plant through specialized hyphae that penetrate the epidermal cells known as haustoria. The teleomorphs are usually more distinctive and diverse than the anamorphs. In Erysiphe alphitoides, the cleistothecia have the asci arranged in a hymenial layer, resembling perithecia. Cleistothecia are normally black and usually, do not have a diameter much more than 0.1 mm (Figure 1C). A key characteristic of Erysiphe phytoid are branched flattened dichotomously appendages in the cleistothecia (Figure 1D). Oval shaped conidia can also be produced by the anamorph.

Author: Julian Bello
Date Posted: 12-13-2016



Cladonia cristatella

Little rat hats of British Soldier Lichens are fruiting bodies called “apothecium”. Close up picture of apothecium under dissecting microscope.

Kingdom: Fungi

Phyla: Ascomycota

Class: Lecanoromycetes

Order: Lecanorales

Family: Cladoniaceae

Genus: Cladonia

Species: C. cristatella

Cladonia cristatella growing on the rotten wood in East Lansing

 

 

Description: Cladonia cristatella is very common and well-known lichen. It is found in most northeastern part of the USA and Canada. The little caps that on top of the lichen resemble the red hats that was worn during the invasion of British Troops by American Revolutionary and that was given the common name of this lichen “British Soldier Lichen”. In real life those little red caps are the sexual fruiting bodies of the fungus called apothecia. Apothecium is an open ascocarp that bears ascospores in asci. The American botanist Edward Tuckerwan in 1858 was first who identified this species. Cladonia means mountains and cristatella translates to crested.

Ecology notes: Cladonia cristatella usually grows on rotting wood. But they also found at the base of the healthy tree and mossy logs. Also in some places it can grow on rocky places and cement.

The lichens divided into different types and this British soldier lichens are considered fructose lichen. They are one of the very bright colored and beautiful lichens.

Map is showing where British Soldier Lichens are found in nature

The red caps “apothecia” produces when lichen older than 4 years. Pieces of lichens that breaks apart can start making a new life, if they have right condition to do. Most of the lichens are slow growing once and British Soldier is not an exception. They only grow 1-2 millimeters in a year.

Relevance to humans: Lichens known as an indicator of good air. If you see a lot of lichens around you, then you should know that the air is not polluted and it is healthy environment for lichen. Lichens have been used for medicine, dyes and perfumes, and also some used as a decorations.

 

References:

www.tinygreengardens.com

www.fcps.edu/ecology british_soldiers.htm

www.botit.botany.wisc.edu

 

 

 



 

Author: Saltanat Mambetova
Date Posted: 12-13-2016



Lyophyllum decastes

Lyophyllum decastes grown on the leaf litter

Kingdom: Fungi

Phyla: Basidiomycota

Class: Agaricomycetes

Order: Agaricales

Family: Lypohyllaceae

Genus: Lyophyllum

Species: L. decastes

Description: Lyophyllum decastes usually known as the fried chicken mushroom. It is an edible species and in grows in clusters on disturbed ground areas. L. decastes was found in East Lansing in the wood chips and leaves. It was grown in a cluster. Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries first described this fungus, and he gave its binomial name Agaricus decastes. However, in 1949 German-born American mycologist Rolf Singer, moved its name to genus Lyophyllum, and established its current scientific name Lyophyllum decastes.

Macro morphological characters:

Caps were 5-10 cm, yellowish to brown. Fresh specimen was moist and slimy.

Stems are 4-8 cm long and 0.8 to 1.8 cm in diameter, tough. The color of the stem is similar to cap and sometimes off white to grey-brown. No ring.

Stipe- 1.5-2 cm, thick.

Gills- faces and edges that lack cystidia.

Spores of Lyophyllum decastes

Microscopic characters: Spore is subglobos and smooth. Spore print is white.

Ecology notes: It is usually  distributed soil rich in leaf litter and particularly on grassy edges of deciduous broadleaf woodland. 

Relevance to society: It is edible mushroom. The common name is “fried chicken mushroom”. Sometimes clustered domecap can cause stomach upsets. For this it is suggested be treated with some caution.

 

References:

Arora, D. (1986) Mushroom Demystified (2nd ed.). Berkley: Ten Speed Press.

www. first-nature.com

www. mushroomexpert.com

Author: Saltanat Mambetova
Date Posted: 12-13-2016



Daedaleopsis confragosa

These corky or leathery polypores can be differentiated by the configuration of their spore-proucing surface. In Daedaleopsis (derived from the Greek word Daedalus, meaning “maze”) the pores are usually long and sinuous or mazelike and have relatively few cross walls. However, the configuration varies considerably leading to confusions with numerous other polypores.

The fruiting body of Daedaleopsis confragosa is annually produced, and it has shelf-like or sometimes bracket-like shape. The texture can be leathery or corky when fresh but they become rigid when dry. The cap can have 3 – 22 cm broad, with a fan-shaped to semi-circular in outline, broadly convex to plane. The surface of the cap is mainly dry usually zoned or ridged concentrically and it can have a reddish-brown to brown to grayish color, sometimes blackish in old age with a margin thin and acute.

Our particular specimens were found growing in groups in a willow tree, but it also occurs on birch and other hardwoods and very rarely on conifers (Figure 1). It is very common in eastern North America and the Pacific Northwest.

Reference: Arora, D. (1996). Mushrooms Demystified: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi (Illustrate). Ten Speed Press.

Author: Julian Bello
Date Posted: 12-13-2016



Stereum hirsutum

Stereum hirsutum is a hardwood-loving crust fungus that is often confused with Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail). It is classified as: Basidiomycota > Agaricomycetes > Russulales > Stereaceae > Stereum > hirsutum.

It develops medium-sized cap structures that often fuse laterally with one another. It is smaller and more frequently fused than S. ostrea, larger and less orange than S. complicatum, and does not “bleed” red latex like several other Stereum spp. The name S. hirsutum is generally applied by mycologists to a group of species that blend into one another, as the forms “are defined by external morphological features, and these are not dependable” (Welden 1971). Stereum studiers might say that S. hirsutum, S. complicatum, and S. gausapatum are along a continuum, and not as distinct as some guides might claim.

S. hirsutum are saprobic on dead wood of hardwoods, especially oaks. They grow densely from gaps in bark, and then fuse together laterally, causing a white rot of the heartwood. This can often serve as a host to algae, and it even sometimes parasitized by jelly fungi. The fungus is prevalent throughout all seasons of the year and is very widely distributed throughout North America.

The fruiting bodies are individually 0.5-3cm across, but are usually fused together. These groups are fan-shaped, semicircular or irregular, densely velvety, and hairy. There are concentric zones of texture and color, with colors variable but generally yellow to tan or reddish brown. Sometimes, they develop green tinges as they age, due to algae colonization. The fruiting bodies don’t have a stem, and the undersurface is smooth, yellow-brown or gray.

It dyes red in  KOH, and sometimes turns black. The spore print is white and difficult to obtain. Spores are 5-8 x 2-3.5um, smooth, cylindric or narrowly elliptical, and amyloid. Under the microscope, one can see hyphidia that are plain, without projections or spikes.

References:
 http://www.mushroomexpert.com/stereum_hirsutum.html
http://www.mykoweb.com/CAF/species/Stereum_hirsutum.html

Author: Katherine Wood
Date Posted: 12-10-2016



Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi

Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosici, also known as the fungus causing mummy berry, replaces blueberry fruit with a fungal pseudosclerotium, causing massive crop loss. It is an ascomycete pathogen

The earliest symptom is wilting of leaves. Newly-formed pinkish leaves turn rosy brown, and sometimes develop a sheperd’s crook or curl. There is a severe wilting of vegetative and floral shoots, then a brown discoloration or  blight. These symptoms may appear some years, but not all, making the disease hard to track at times. Within 72 hours of infection, the whole shoot collapses, with the highest incidence of infected shoots occuring on the lower canopy, since it overhands moist soil and develops apothecia.

During secondary infection, individual flowers are colonized by the fungus. The fruit initially appears healthy, but then begins to discolor with progression of the disease. The berries turn from green to pinkish-purple, then wrinkle. Healthy blueberries, as you probably know, ripen to a dark bluish-purple. Infected berries may also appear swollen at first, then shrivel to about half of normal fruit size, before dropping.

One may identify the fungal overwintering structures (pseudosclerotia) from late summer until early spring on the orchard floor. The pseudosclerotia are hardened masses of fungal hyphae that resist decomposition and allow the fungus to survive over winter. They can be found under fallen blueberry leaves, moss, and other plant debris. After the floral buds break, the pseudosclerotia produces apothecia (fruiting bodies) that release ascospores (sexual spores) and cause primary infection. After primary infection, the fungus produces conidia (secondary asexual spores) in chains that look like a gray mantle on infected plants. The odor is distinctly sweet, because the conidial mat secrete sugars and reflects UV light to attract pollinators.

To identify mummy berry, one may cut open a developing blueberry fruit. If infected, mats of mycelium will be observed in the fruit locules until it forms a pseudosclerotium, when the blueberry tissues shrivel before dropping. The mycelial mat is soft and cream colored, then hardens and becomes more tan/brown. The most mature pseudosclerotia are black..

References:
http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/intropp/lessons/fungi/ascomycetes/Pages/MummyBerry.aspx
http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/mummyberry/files/2014/05/MUMMY-BERRY-FACT-SHEET.pdf

Author: Katherine Wood
Date Posted: 12-10-2016



Tapinella atrotomentosa

Figure 1. A group of Tapinella atrotomentosa growing at the base of a conifer tree. (left) the cap color and size. (right) gills and brown folded margins.

Tapinella atrotomentosa is a saprotroph of conifers belonging to the Boletales order. It is often confused with Paxillus, but the two genera have different ecology. Paxillus is ectomychorizal and Tapinella is not. The cap can be large (10-15 cm wide) and is brown to orange with lighter margins. The cap rolls and has a brown margin. The stipe is thick and not hollow (3-4 cm) and can be brown to black, with a velvety feel. Gills are present, and usually close to medium spaced and white to brown. Can grow singly or in groups (Figure 1). Spore print is brown (Figure 3). When exposed to ammonia, the cap, stipe and gills first turn a bright purple, followed by green becoming black within a few minutes.

Figure 2. When exposed to ammonia (I used Windex®, which is an ammonia based cleaner) the cap, gills and stipe turn a bright purple (left) and become green then black (right).

Figure 3. Spore drop of Tapinella atrotomentosa.

Author: Zach Noel
Date Posted: 12-09-2016



Peziza michelii

Peziza michelii is a saprobic (maybe mycorrhizal) ascomycete. It was first described by Dennis et al. in British cup fungi and their allies: An introduction to the ascomycetes (pages 1-280) in 1960. It is classified into: Fungi > Ascomycota > Pezizomycotina > Pezizomycetes > Pezizomycetidae > Pezizaceae > Peziza > mechelii.

Collected specimen.

It grows alone or in groups, often near roadbanks and pathways. They appear May through November, and they are widely distributed east of the great plains. They prefer wet forests, often consisting of beech and spruce as one of the dominant vegetation types. This particular specimen was collected from Alma College’s Biological Field Station, an ecological tension zone between northern coniferous and southern deciduous forest in Michigan.

The fruiting bodies of Peziza michelii are goblet-shaped to cup-shaped when young, becoming saucer-shaped when older. The cups are 5-30mm across, the upper surface is bald, and often appears lilac to purple when fresh. The under-surface is bald or finely granular, nearly whitish at first, and then becoming yellowish, slowly staining. There is no stem, and the cups attach to the substrate at a central location. There is no distinct odor or taste, but the flesh exudes a juice that stains surfaces bright- to brownish-yellow.

The spores are 13-17×7-9um. At maturity, the spores are warty, ellipsoid, and biguttulate. The asci are 8-spored, with blue tips in Melzer’s reagent, up to 300x18um. Paraphyzes have subclavate or rounded apices 3-6um wide.

Wororin body in hyphae. Curry, K.J., and Kimborough, J.W. 1983. Mycologia 75:781-794 The Mycological Society of America

Wororin body in hyphae. Curry, K.J., and Kimborough, J.W. 1983. Mycologia 75:781-794 The Mycological Society of America

References:
https://aftol.umn.edu/species/Peziza_michelii
http://www.mushroomexpert.com/peziza_michelii.html
http://www.mycobank.org/name/Peziza%20michelii&Lang=Eng

 

Author: Katherine Wood
Date Posted: 12-06-2016



Trametes pubescens

Trametes pubescens (Schumach.) Pilat (1939) is a small, thin polypore bracket fungus. It was first decribed by Danish mycologist Heinrich Christian Friedrich Schumacher in 1803, and was originally called Boletus pubescens. It was moved to the genus Trametes in 1939 by Czech mycologist Albert Pilat. Tram- mens thin and pubescens is a reference to the fine downy hairs on teh velvety upper surfaces o young brackets of this species.

It is classified as: Fungi > Basidiomycota > Basidiomycetes > Agaricomycetidae > Polyporales > Polyporaceae > Trametes > pubescens

It has a cream-colored, finely velvety cap surface. The brackets are semicircular, up to 8cm and typically 5mm deep. They are also often tiered, and adjacent caps are occasionally fused laterally; this helps to distinguish it from T. suaveoens, a larger pale bracket, that does not usually grow in overlapping tiers. Unlike the other turkey tail-like species of Trametes, the cap of T. pubescens lacks distinct contrasting zones of color and appears mostly white and grey. As they age, the brackets develop radial lines and deep furrows near the margin of the upper surface, and a yellowish tinge to the fertile underside. Older specimens often lack a velvety coating and are more difficult to identify.

The tubes are white and 4-6mm deep, terminating in white, slightly angular pores, often varying randomly in size and soemtimes merging. There are typically 3-5 pores per mm. The spores are cylindrical-shaped, smooth, 5-6×1.52.5um, and inamyloid. The spore print in white. There is no distinctive smell or taste.

It is an annual, saprobic fungus, which decomposes hardwoods. It sometimes persists through winter in southern areas, but fresh fruitbodies appear in the late summer through autumn, when they release their pores. It grows in large clusters on fallen logs, stumps, and branches. It almost never colonizes conifer wood sources. This fungus is common in central mainland Europe (rare in Britain and Ireland), but is frequently found in most parts of North America. This particular specimen was collected from Alma College’s Biological Field Station, an ecological tension zone between northern coniferous and southern deciduous forest in Michigan.

It is an agriculturally-significant fungus in that it infects peach and nectarine trees, and parasitizes them. In Japan, this fungus has reportedly been prescribed as an additional supplement to help with treatments for colon cancer, although the validity of these reports is questionable.

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trametes_pubescens
http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/trametes-pubescens.php
http://www.messiah.edu/oakes/fungi_on_wood/poroid%20fungi/species%20pages/Trametes%20pubescens.htm

Author: Katherine Wood
Date Posted: 12-06-2016



Ganoderma applanatum (Pers.) Pat.

Ganoderma applanatum, AKA the artist’s conk, is widespread through North America. These polypores are known for their white spore surface that turns brown with pressure, and many people (or nature lovers, including myself) have one hanging around the house as decoration.

img_0057

Figure 1: Discolored, very old, decorated conk of Ganoderma applanatum from Southwest Virginia. The original owner (a mycophile) tried to preserve it using a stain and discolored the surface.

Ganoderma applanatum is a weak parasite/saprophyte, and can usually be found on dying or dead trees. They continue to grow and can get quite big, even up to 75cm (1).

img_0053
Figure 2: A conk from Ganoderma applanatum growing on a dead log in Baker’s woodlot on Michigan State University’s campus.

The cap is typically shaped like a fan with a dull color. There are typically rings in the cap with the pore surface forming a ‘lip’ around the edge in younger conks.

The pore surface is typically white, and as it ages it becomes a more dull, brownish color (1). The underneath is a brown color, which comes out via ‘brusing’ which is how artists are able to ‘draw’ on the conks. The brown color of old brusing can stay crisp for years. They can turn black with KOH (1).

 

img_0036

Figure 3: Two Ganoderma applanatum conks from Baker’s woodlot on Michigan State University’s campus. Note the brown fingerprints on the pore surface from when the collector had to yank super hard to remove the conk from the dead log it was residing on.

Spores are typically 8-12 x 6.5-8 µl, more or less elliptical with a truncated end. The spores appear smooth at lower magnifications. “but with oil immersion appearing double-walled, with a series of “pillars” between the walls (1).”

 

1. Kuo, M. 2004. Ganoderma applanatum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/ganoderma_applanatum.html

 

 

Author: Suzanne Slack
Date Posted: 12-04-2016



Amanita muscaria (L.) Lam. (1783)

“Look! It’s a Mario mushroom!” Said every person who played any Mario game ever when observing an Amanita muscaria mushroom for the first time. Also known as the fly agaric, this mushroom has been detailed throughout human history and is arguably the most iconic mushroom in pop culture.

The reason it is a popular mushroom, besides the whole Mario thing, is the fact that it is a psychoactive mushroom. Though not illegal in the United States, it is not a very good, also it is in the Amanita genus, making it closely related to the most deadly mushroom known.

The most iconic form of this mushroom has a red cap, however in the Eastern United States, the caps tend to be more orange-yellow in color (Figure 1).

img_4423
Figure 1: Various growth stages of Amanita muscaria foraged from the forests surrounding University of Michigan’s Biological Station in Northern Michigan.

Amanita muscaria is a known endophyte of many trees, and has been introduced to new habitats when their native hosts are moved around continents. They are frequently found under pine, spruce, fur, and cedar trees in Michigan.

img_4551

Figure 2: An Amanita muscaria mushroom popping out of the ground underneath a pine tree in Baker’s woodlot on Michigan State University’s campus.

Mushroom appearance:

The cap can be red – light yellow, starting out round/oval like an egg and slowly expanding to barely convex or flat 5-25cm across. One of the key characteristics are the remnants of the veil, also known as “warts” dotting the cap. These can be yellow-white in color. The gills are typically white, crowded and free from the stem.

img_4557
Figure 3: Close up on the gills on a Amanita muscaria mushroom.

The stem is anywhere from “5-18 cm long; 1-3 cm thick; more or less equal, or tapering to apex” (1) with the remenants of the universal veil around the swollen base (Figure 4). There is also a characteristic ring from the veil off of the gills present on the stem.

img_4553

Figure 4: Image of the mushroom produced by Amanita muscaria. Note the large bulb on the base of the mushroom.

The spores are 8-12 x 5-7 µl, smooth and broadly ellipsoid (1).

 

1. Kuo, M. 2013. Amanita muscaria var flavivolvata. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/amanita_muscaria_flavivolvata.html

 

Author: Suzanne Slack
Date Posted: 12-04-2016



Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920)

Where do turkeys get their tails? They must have copied the fabulous turkey tail polypore! Trametes versicolor, which is better known as turkey tail, is a common, colorful saprophyte that can be seen around forests all over North America. This fungus is a saprophyte, meaning it gets its nourishment from dead tissue; in this case usually hardwoods. A synonyms are Polyporus versicolor and Coriolus versicolor. 

 

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Figure 1: Dead log colonized by Trametes versicolor in Baker’s woodlot on Michigan State University’s campus.

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Figure 2: Trametes versicolor from the top and bottom of the cap. Note the colorful rings on the topside of the cap.

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Figure 3: Close up of the white porous surface of the sporing surface,

The semi-circular shaped polypore is usually brightly colored with different hues of red, orange, yellow and brown rings in very pronounced rings. Sometimes there can even be shades of green nd blue rings! The polypore will have overlaying caps, some more circular than others. The pore surface is white and porous, which tubes as deep as 3mm(1). The flesh of this polypore is tough, leathery, edible but not very good.
Under a microscope the spores are 5-6 x 1.5-2 µl long, smooth, cylindric, and inamyloid(1). The cystidia are absent and the hyphal system is trimitic (1).

Trametes versicolor is known for producing “Polysaccaride K,” or PSK, which is used in cancer treatments. There has been ongoing studies about the effectiveness of PSK for decades. There are meta reviews in the works about the actual effectiveness (2).

 

1.  Kuo, M. 2005. Trametes versicolor: The turkey tail. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/trametes_versicolor.html

2. Pilkington K, Leach J, Teng L, Storey D, Liu JP. Coriolus versicolor mushroom for colorectal cancer treatment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD012053. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012053.

Author: Suzanne Slack
Date Posted: 12-04-2016



Cyathus stercoreus

This birds nest fungi is also known as “Dung-loving Bird’s nest fungus”, although luckily this sample was found in mulch not dung. The species name stercoreus, translates to “filth” in latin. This saprobe is widely distributed in North America and commonly found on wood chips, organic debris, and dung. I found this specimen in mid-November on the south end of campus. In general, this species can be found anytime.

The nests are 1 cm high and less than 1 cm wide, with an exterior tan to golden-brown or reddish brown and shaggy. The interior of the nest is smooth, becoming dark gray often blackish in age. There are several peridioles (eggs) in each nest, each 1-2mm in diameter and smooth almost lentil-like. Spores inside peridioles are mostly round to oval, thick-walled, and hyaline.

This specimen had not yet developed spores inside the eggs, but a cross section shows the tough outer surface and fleshy interior where spores would develop (pictured below).

Kuo, M. (2014, February). Cyathus stercoreus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/cyathus_stercoreus.html

Arora, D. (1986). Mushrooms Demystified (2nd ed.). Berkley: Ten Speed Press.

Top view of nest

Top view of nest

side view of birds nest

side view of birds nest

cross section of peridiole under the microscope

cross section of peridiole under the microscope

Author: Mikaela Breunig
Date Posted: 12-04-2016



Puccinia striiformis f. Sp. tritici: Stripe Rust

This summer the wheat fields found in the southern end of MSU’s campus weren’t as green as usual. Stripe rust, Puccinia striiformis f. Sp. tritici had infected most of the plots leaving a yellow tinge to the field. This year stripe rust was much worse than usual in Michigan, perhaps due to environmental conditions that favored early development.

This disease gets its common name “stripe rust” because it develops in distinct lesion that are straight lines. Some people also refer to it as “yellow rust” because it’s spores are more a lighter yellow compared to other stem or leaf rusts of wheat.

These rust can be so devastating because of their polycyclic nature that allows them to produce a large amount of urediniospores that are readily transferred by wind. This rust is an obligate biotroph, meaning it needs to be infecting living tissue to survive. The life cycle of rusts is very complex, with many having up to six spore types. The orange spores pictured below are the urediniospores. Teliospores are the hardier spores that give rise to basidiospores, and are produced on the leaf in black pustules.

This rust produces tiny yellow to orange uredinia 0.3-0.5mm and each uredinium contains thousands of yellow orange spherical urediniospores 20-30µm in diameter, with thick echinulate walls and 6 to 12 scattered germ pores. The infection starts on leaves but can also spread to the wheat chaff.

Stripe rust has the ability to reduce yield significantly. The pustules reduce green leaf area which reduces photosynthesis; removing nutrients and water needed for the plant to thrive. This leads to reduced vigor, grain fill, and even root growth. This ultimately reduces yield, and can lower the crop’s forage value and palatability for cattle.

field infected leaf, notice orange pustules of urediniospores and dark spots of teliospores

uredinia on wheat chaff

Agrios, G. N. (2005). Plant Pathology (Fith). Burlington: Elsevier Academic Press.

Bockus, W. W., Bowden, R. L., Hunger, R. M., Wendell, M. L., Murray, T. D., & Smiley, R. W. (2010). Compendium of Wheat Diseases and Pest (Third). St. Paul: APS Press.

Author: Mikaela Breunig
Date Posted: 12-04-2016



Marasmius oreades

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Close up picture of Marasmius oreades cap, stipe, gills and spore print

Kingdom: Fungi

Phyla: Basidiomycota

Class: Agaricomycetes

Order: Agaricales

Family: Marasmiaceae

Genus: Marasmius

Species: M. oreades (Bolton) Fr (1836)

Description: Common name of this mushroom is “fairy ring mushroom” since it frequently fruits in ring patterns on grass and lawn places. An English naturalist James Bolton first described this mushroom in 1792. But then, Elias Magnus Fries established its current- scientific name.

This mushroom and other members of the genus Marasmius are referred to as “resurrection mushroom”- meaning that they can dry out completely in hot and sunny days, but after rain, they reflate and regain their characteristics shape and color. Not only do they reconstitute fruiting body look like fresh young mushroom but they also able to reproduce cells and produce new spores.

Ecology notes: Saprobic on grass in lawns, meadows, and other grassy areas. Frequently can find this mushroom among coastal grasses in dunes. It can grow gregariously in troops, arcs, or rings. Usually this mushroom appears in summer and fall or sometimes it can be found year around in warmer climates. It is widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 1-5 cm across, bell shaped and initially convex. It often retains a slight central bump. The splash color various from pale tan to buff, occasionally white, or reddish tan. Usually it changes color as it dries.

Gills: Attached to the stem or free from it; white or pale tan.

Stipe: 2-8 cm long, 1.5-6 mm thick, equal, dry, tough and pilant whitish or have same color as cap, smooth and dry.

Spore print: white

Microscopic features: Spores smooth, fusoid, ellipsoid or inamyloid. The color of the spores is hyaline to yellowish.

Relevance to society: Marasmius oreades is considered an edible mushroom.

Marasmius oreades spores under microscope

Marasmius oreades spores under microscope

Marasmius oreades growing on grass in East Lansing

Marasmius oreades the “fairy ring” mushroom, East Lansing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Arora, D. (1986) Mushroom Demystified (2nd ed.). Berkley: Ten Speed Press.

Marasmius oreades www.first-nature.com

Marasmius oreades at www.mushroomexpert.com

Marasmius oreades at Tom Volk’s Fungi www.botit.botany.wisc.edu

Author: Saltanat Mambetova
Date Posted: 12-03-2016



Hebeloma crustuliniforme

This fungus is nick-named “poison pie” because despite its enticing appearance, it can cause sever gastrointestinal disturbances.

This fungus can be mycorrhizal on both hardwoods and conifers, and is widely distributed in North America. The mushroom can fruit in late summer or fall. This specimen was found in mulch in the MSU horticulture gardens in early November.

Caps are known to be 2-33 cm and convex, slimy or viscous when fresh. Whitish or pale tan often with darker coloring in the center, and an inrolled margin when young. Stalk is fairly even except the base is often enlarged. At the apex of the stalk, this species has characteristic white flakes. Gills are pale when young and crowded, becoming brownish with age. This specimen when collected was white, but gills turned golden brown after drying.

Spores are elliptical or almond shaped, and smooth or minutely roughened. Spore prints are dull brown, which I obtained (pictured below).

References

Wood, M. (n.d.). Hebeloma crustuliniforme. Retrieved February 12, 2016, from http://www.mykoweb.com/CAF/species/Hebeloma_crustuliniforme.html

Kuo, M. (2012, March). Hebeloma crustuliniforme. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/hebeloma_crustuliniforme.html

Arora, D. (1986). Mushrooms Demystified (2nd ed.). Berkley: Ten Speed Press.

 

Specimen found in MSU horticultural gardens, note small white flakes at apex of stalk

Specimen found in MSU horticultural gardens, note small white flakes at apex of stalk

 

Spore print of specimen obtained on aluminum foil

Spore print of specimen obtained on aluminum foil

Spores from spore print under microscope

Spores from spore print under microscope

Author: Mikaela Breunig
Date Posted: 12-03-2016



Piptoporus betulinus (Bull.) P. Karst

Mature fruiting body.

Figure 1. Mature fruiting body of Piptoporus betulinus.

This fungus is commonly known as the birch polypore, from the growing on declining birch trees. Piptoporus betulinus is considered a parasite on living birch trees, but transitions to a saprophyte after the tree dies. Upon birch trees, you will find brown to grey spherical caps that are 10-25 cm in diameter and 2-6 cm thick at maturity (Figure 1 and 2).

Figure 2. Brown to grey cap.

Figure 2. Brown to grey cap of Piptoporus betulinus on a birch tree.

Several of these caps can form on one trunk of one tree (Figure 3). The pores are densely packed with 3-4 every mm, and each pore is 1.5-5 mm deep, containing ellipsoid to cylindrical smooth 4-6 by 1.3-2 µm white spores (Figure 4). The pores release a white spore print. Generally, this fungus fruits in the late summer and early fall, but fruiting bodies can be found year round. The caps will dry down and can be used as a fire starter.

Figure 3. Multiple fruiting bodies on a single birch trunk.

Figure 3. Multiple fruiting bodies on a single birch trunk.

Piptoporus betulinus is a basidiomycete within the class: Agaricomycetes, order: Polyporales and family: Fomitopsidaceae. This species has many synonyms over the years since its discovery by carl Linnaeus in 1753 including Polyporus betulinus (Bull.) Fr., Boletus betulinus Bull., Boletus suberosus L., and Agarico-pulpa pseudoagaricon Paulet. 

When fruiting bodies are immature or very young, they are considered edible, but are not reported to be of good taste.

Figure 4. Basidiospores of

Figure 4. Basidiospores of Piptoporus betulinus. 

In addition to being a flammable material when dried, the fruiting bodies are also known to produce piptamine an antibiotic. Interestingly, this fungus was found with a 5,000-year-old mummified body in the Alps between Austria and Italy, as a neck thong. Apparently humans have had an interest in P. betulinus for a very long time.

 

Literature Cited:

Capasso L. 1998. 5300 years ago, the ice man used natural laxatives and antibiotics. Lancet. 352: 1864.

O’Reilly P. 2011. Piptoporus betulinus (Bull.) P. Karst- Birch Polypore or Razor strop fungi in Fascinated by fungi http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/piptoporus-betulinus.php Access Nov 21, 2016.

Schlegel B, Luhmann U, Hartl A, Grafe U. 2000. Piptamin, a new antibiotic produced by Piptoporus betulinus Lu 9-1. Antiot 53: 973-974.

Author: Amy Baetsen-Young
Date Posted: 12-02-2016



Scutellinia scutellata (Linnaeus) Lambotte

Scutellinia scutellata in situ. This species grows on very wet rotting logs.

Scutellinia scutellata in situ. This species grows on very wet rotting logs.

Taxonomic placement: Scutellinia scutellata (Ascomycota, Pezizomycetes, Pesizales, Pyronemataceae) is a saprobic cup fungus that grows on very wet wood that had already been colonized by other decomposers (Kuo & Methven, 2014). It enjoys a widespread distribution throughout North America (Arora; Kuo & Methven, 2014), but has also been reported from South America (Tabon, 1991), Africa (Douanla-Meli & Langer, 2005), Asia (Batra & Batra, 1963; Chen, 1975; Bi et al., 1993), Israel (Nemlich & Avizoharhershenzon, 1976), and New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (Otani, 1971). I found this specimen growing on the underside of a rotting hardwood log in the Baker Woodlot on South campus.

Magnification of the fruiting bodies of S. scutellata.

Magnification of the fruiting bodies of S. scutellata.

Global distribution of Scutellinia scutellata from eol.org. http://eol.org/pages/133525/maps.

Global distribution of Scutellinia scutellata from eol.org. http://eol.org/pages/133525/maps.

Carl Linnaeus fist described S. scutellata  as Peziza scutellata in his Species Plantarum (1753). Nearly a century later, Lambotte (1887) moved the species into the genus Scutellinia. Yao & Spooner examined this genus in 1996 and synonymized S. scutellata with Peziza crinita because the later species had been described after Linnaeus’ initial publication. Other junior synonyms are Helvella ciliata, Elvela ciliata, Peziza ciliata, P. aurantiaca, Humaria scutellata, Lachnea scutellata, Humariella scutellata, Patella scutellata, and Ciliaria scutellata (Mycobank).

Magnification of S. scutellata showing the black hairs growing from the cells at the edge of the shallow cups. This distinctive character is diagnistic for this species.

Magnification of S. scutellata showing the black hairs growing from the cells at the edge of the shallow cups. This distinctive character is diagnistic for this species.

Fruiting body: S. scutellata usually appears in grows on suitable substrate. Young fruiting bodies begin as small spheres that open into small (0.2 – 1.5 cm) shallow cups (Arora, 1976). Despite their small size, they are easy to recognize because of their bright red color and distinct black hairs that conspicuously line the rim of each cup. The hymenium is located on the bright inner surface of the cups, which grow sessile on the substrate. The outside of the cups is light brown (Kuo & Methven, 2014).

Microscopic features: The spores are ellipsoid, approximately 20 µm x 12 µm. They have a

smooth surface when immature, but gain a warty texture when fully mature. Sterile, septate paraphyses with swollen tips often grow between the asci on the hymenium (Kuo & Methven, 2014).

Illustrations of s. scutellata from Sower, 1797.

Illustrations of s. scutellata from Sower, 1797.

Ecology and relevance to society: This species is important to humans because it is part of the decomposition cycle in forest ecosystems globally.

 

Sources:

Arora, D. 1976. Mushrooms Demystified: a comprehensive guide to the fleshy fungi. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA.

Batra LR; Batra SWT (1963). “Indian Discomycetes”. University of Kanses Scientific Bulletin. 44 (1/14): 109–256.

Bi Z; Zheng G; Li T (1993). The Macrofungus Flora of China’s Guangdong Province. Chinese University Press. pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-962-201-556-2.

Chen Z-C (1975). Notes on new Formosan forest fungi part 2. Some lignicolous fungi. Taiwania. 20(2): 201–212.

Douanla-Meli C; Langer E (2005). “Notes on Discomycetes (Helotiales, Pezizales): New species and new records from Cameroon”. Mycotaxon. 92: 223–37.

Kuo, M., and A.S. Methven. 2014. Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, Chicago, Springfield.

Lambotte, J.B.E. 1887. Memoires societe royale des sciences de Liege.

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Laurentis Salvius: Sweden.

Nardi, G.R., J.B. Bee, C.M. Miller, and H. Raja. 2013. Bacterial Symbionts that inhabit apothecia of the cup fungus Scutellinia scutellata. Nova Hedwigia. 97(1-2):1-18.

Nemlich H; Avizoharhershenzon Z (1976). “Pezizales of Israel .4. Humariaceae (B)”. Israel Journal of Botany. 25 (1–2): 41–52.

Otani Y (1971). “Mycological reports from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands part 3. Enumeration of the Sarcoscyphaceae and Scutellinia humariaceae“. Bulletin of the National Science Museum (Tokyo). 14 (3): 401–422.

Scutellinia scutellata. Mycobank.org. Accessed November 18, 2016.

Sowerby, J. 1797. Colored Figures of English Fungi. 1:1-120.

EOL: Scutellinia scutellata Common eyelash. http://www.eol.org/pages/133525/maps. Accessed November 18, 2016.

Tobon LE (1991). “Ascomycetes of Colombia Discomycetes of the department of Antioquia”. Caldasia. 16 (78): 327–336.

Yao YJ, Spooner BM (1996). “Notes on British species of Scutellinia“. Mycological Research 100 (7): 859–65.

Author: Rachel Osborn
Date Posted: 12-01-2016



Xanthomendoza fallax – Hooded Sunburst Lichen

Xanthomendoza fallax (Hepp ex Arn.) Soechting, KSrnefelt & S. Kontratyuk.

X. fallax is classified as: Ascomycota > Pezizomycotina >Lecanoromycetes > Lecanoromycetidae > Teloschistales > Teloschistaceae > Xanthomendoza > fallax

1004_6X. fallax is characterized by the bird nest soralia, wich are formed when the upper and lower cortex split and separate. Crescent-shaped opening then explode the soredia produced from the medullary layer.

The thallus is foliose, forming small to medium sized rosettes up to 3cm wide, and sometimes coalescing. The rosettes are adnate to loosely adnate, as well as lobate. The lobes are dorsiventral, flattened to convex, 0.8-2mm wide, with tips that are truncate to rotund and 0.3-0.9mm wide. The upper surface is distinctly yellow to orange, smooth to shiny, and sorediate. The soredia are powdery, marginal in horizontal crescent-shaped slits called ‘birds nests’. The medulla are white and reticulate, with short to elongate hyphae. The lower surface is white to yellow, somewhat wrinkled, rarely with short white hapters.

The apothecia are rare, but when they occur, are laminal, stipitate, and up to 2.5mm in diameter. The margin is initially smooth, but often becomes sorediate and with cilia. The disc is orange, and the epihymenium is brown and 10um thick. The hymenium is hyaline below, 50-110um tall. The paraphyses are simple or branched, cylindrical, and septate. The hypothecium is hyaline to pale brown, 30-90um thick. The asci are clavate, with 8-spored ascospores that are ellipsoid, polaricocular, hyaline, and 11.5-17c6-9um. The septum is 2-5um wide. The pycnidia are common, immersed to protruding darker than upper surface conidia, which are bacilliform, 2-3.6×1-1.5um.

Spot tests for the upper surface include K+ purple, C-, KC-, and P-. This lichen also produces secondary metabolites: parietin (major) fallacinal (major), emodin, teloschistin (major), and parietinic acid.

X. fallax occurs, like most lichen, in specific habitats: bark, rarely rock or detritus, in rather humid (never dry) microclimates. It is widespread in temperate regions around the globe. Interestingly, one can often find colonies growing on cemetery headstones.

Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria:
http://nhc.asu.edu/lherbarium/flora/index.php

Other resources:
http://ohiomosslichen.org/lichen-xanthomendoza-species/
http://www.mycobank.org/name/Xanthomendoza%20fallax&Lang=Eng
http://www.fnanaturesearch.org/index.php?option=com_naturesearch&task=view&id=2024
http://www.discoverlife.org/20/q?search=Xanthomendoza+fallax

Author: Katherine Wood
Date Posted: 12-01-2016



Lycoperdon pyriforme Schaeffer

Lycoperdon pyriforme in situ, growing on a decomposing log.

Lycoperdon pyriforme in situ, growing on a decomposing log.

Habitat and distribution: The stump puffball (Lycoperdon pyriforme) grows commonly throughout the global temperate zone and less frequently in the tropics (EOL.org). it grows on rotting hardwoods and conifers, producing fruiting bodies from spring through fall (Kuo & Methven, 2014). I found this specimen on a fallen beech log in the Baker woodlot on the MSU campus.

Global distribution of Lycoperdon pyriforme from eol.org. http://eol.org/pages/133781/maps

Global distribution of Lycoperdon pyriforme from eol.org. http://eol.org/pages/133781/maps

Taxonomic placement: L. pyriforme (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycotina, Agaricales, Agaricaceae) (Mycobank.org) was first described by Schaeffer in 1774. Though the name L. pyriforme has remained the valid name, the species has several junior synonyms including Utraria pyriformis, Morganella pyriformis, and Scleroderma bresadolae (Mycobank.org).

Fruiting body: L. pyriforme often grows groups on rotting logs. Young puffballs begin as small light brown spheres with subtly rough surface. They

gradually grow into pear-shaped puffballs, no more than 5 cm high. The interior of the fruiting bodies remains solid and white until the brown spores mature and break through the outer surface. This species is also easily recognizable because it is attached to the substrate by conspicuous white rhizomorphs (Arora, 1976; Kuo & Methven, 2014).

L. pyriforme puffballs form on a narrow stalk that rises from the substrate.

L. pyriforme puffballs form on a narrow stalk that rises from the substrate.

Magnification of L. pyriforme showing the solid white interior of the young puffball. Prominent white rizomorphs attach the fruiting body to the substrate.

Magnification of L. pyriforme showing the solid white interior of the young puffball. Prominent white rizomorphs attach the fruiting body to the substrate.

Microscopic features: These puffballs were still quite young, and were not producing spores yet. When they mature, the spores of L. pyriforme are small (~4 x 4 µm), spherical or nearly so, with brown capillitial threads (Kuo & Methven 2014).

Ecology and relevance to society: L. pyriforme is an important member of the decomposing guild in forest ecosystems (Huss, 1996), and a popular edible species (Melake, 2013a; b)

Sources:

Arora, D. 1976. Mushrooms Demystified: a comprehensive guide to the fleshy fungi. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA.

EOL: Lycoperdon pyriforme Stump puffball. http://www.eol.org/pages/133781/maps. Accessed November 26, 2016.

Huss, M.J., 1996. Isozyme analysis of population structure and diversity in the puffball species Lycoperdon pyriforme. Mycologia 88(6): 977-985.

Kuo, M., and A.S. Methven. 2014. Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, Chicago, Springfield.

Lycoperdon pyriforme. Mycobank.org. Accessed November 26, 2016.

Melike, Y.A. 2013a. Characterization of a [beta]-glucosidase from an edible mushroom, Lycoperdon pyriforme. International journal of food properties. 16(7) 1565.

Melike, Y.A. 2013b. Characterization of an esterase activity in Lycoperdon pyriforme an edible mushroom. Journal of food biochemistry 37(2): 177-184.

Schaeffer, J.C. 1774. Fungorum qui in Bavaria et Palatinatu circa Ratisbonam nascuntur Icones. Regensburg.

Author: Rachel Osborn
Date Posted: 12-01-2016



Crucibulum laeve (Hudson) Kambly

Crucibulum laeve in situ. Growing on wood chips in a flower bed.

Crucibulum laeve in situ. Growing on wood chips in a flower bed.

The common bird’s nest fungus Crucibulum lavae (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes, Agaricales, Agaricaceae) is a common sighting on the MSU campus. It often grows on the woodchips that line flower beds all over campus, and are commonly found throughout the world in temperate and tropical climates. I found these specimens living on woodchips in a flower bed just west of the Old Horticulture building (506 East Circle Drive) on campus.

Global distribution of Crucibulum laeve from eol.org. http://eol.org/pages/189161/maps

Global distribution of Crucibulum laeve from eol.org. http://eol.org/pages/189161/maps

This species was first described by Hudson under the name Peziza laevis (Hudson 1778), and later moved into the genus Crucibulum by Kambly (1936). Perhaps due to its charming, conspicuous fruiting body, the species has many synonyms including Nidularia levis, N. Laevis, N. crucibulum, Peziza crucibuliformis, P. levis, P. pyxix, P. scutellaris, Cyanthus cylindricus, C. crucibuliformis, C. crucibulum, C. pezizoides, C. atrofuscus, Cyathella laevis, Crucibulum crucibuliforme, and C. vulgare (Mycobank).

Young C. laeve in various stages of development. Note the shaggy outer texture of these birds nests.

Young C. laeve in various stages of development. Note the shaggy outer texture of these birds nests.

This species is most easily identified by the macroscopic characters if the fruiting body. Young fruiting bodies grow from the substrate,

Young C. laeve. The arrow points to a developing fruiting body that is in the process of loosing its covering.

Young C. laeve. The arrow points to a developing fruiting body that is in the process of loosing its covering.

starting as tiny spheres and eventually growing into rounded inverted cones with the bottom having a smaller diameter than the top (Arora, 1976). The top is closed by a yellow covering until the cups open when mature. The fruiting bodies are  deeply cup shaped and light yellow and shaggy on the outside (Arora, 1976). Their inner surface is smooth, with no striations and contain several white, lentil-shaped (sometimes ellipsoid) “eggs” called peridioles (Arora, 1976; Kuo & Methven, 2014). These are attached to the bottom of the cup by a cord (funiculus) that becomes flexible  and sticky when moistened by

Mature C. laeve showing peridioles and the smooth inner texture of the cups and

Mature C. laeve showing peridioles and the smooth inner texture of the cups and

rain (Kuo, 2016).  The spores develop inside the peridioles. They are football-shaped (7-10 x 3-6 µm), hyaline, and smooth (Kuo & Methven, 2014; Kuo, 2014).

 

 

Crucibulum laeve grows on leaf litter, especially wood chips and small twigs and branches. Spores disperse in a unique manner, relying on rainfall. When raindrops fall into the cups, the hydrated funiculus stretches and breaks, launching the peridiole free. When it lands, the funiculus sticks to the substrate, thus delivering the spores inside to a new area (Kuo, 2014).

Magnification of the "eggs" inside the fruiting body of C. laeve. The arrow is pointing to the funiculus on the underside of one peridiole.

Magnification of the “eggs” inside the fruiting body of C. laeve. The arrow is pointing to the funiculus on the underside of one peridiole.

Besides being interesting to look at and generally charismatic, this species is an important member of forest ecosystems within its range. It is part of the community that decomposes dead plant matter on the forest floor (Wicklow et al., 1984). Crucibulum laeve has also been the focus of recent investigations into sexual reproduction in the family Nidulariaceae (Malloure & James, 2013).

Sources:

Arora, D. 1976. Mushrooms Demystified: a comprehensive guide to the fleshy fungi. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA.

Crucibulum laeve. Mycobank.org. Accessed November 19, 2016.

EOL: Crucibulum laeve, Common bird’s nest. http://www.eol.org/pages/189161/maps. Accessed November 19, 2016.

Hudson. 1778. Flora Angelica. 2(2):634.

Kambly. 1936. University of Iowa Studies in Natural History. 17(4):167.

Kuo, M. 2014, February. Crucibulum laeve. http://www.mushroomexpert.com/crucibulum_laeve.html. Accessed November 20, 2016.

Kuo, M., and A.S. Methven. 2014. Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, Chicago, Springfield.

Malloure, B.D., and T.Y. James, 2013. Inbreeding depression in urban environments of the bird’s nest fungus Cyathus steroreus (Nidulariaceae: Basidiomycota). Heredity 110:355-365.

Wicklow, D.T., R. Langie, S. Crabtree, and R.W. Detroy. 1984. Degradation of lignocellulose in wheat straw versus hardwood by Cyathus and related species (Nidulariaceae). Canadian Journal of Microbiology 30(5) 632-636.

Author: Rachel Osborn
Date Posted: 11-30-2016



Daldinia concentrica (Bolton) Ces. & De Not.

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Figure 1. The brown to black stroma on a downed ash trunk.

This fungus is a unique ascomycete, from its inconspicuous coal looking fruiting bodies. Yet these unassuming brown to black stroma are anything but unassuming. Instead they are a perennial structure that can grow up to 8 cm across (Figure 1). You will find these structures growing saprotrophically on dead or decomposing ash trees, which in Michigan we have a plethora of these days from emerald ash borer.

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Figure 2. The concentric rings from annual growth within the stroma.

 

Interestingly, when opening the stroma you will find concentric rings of annual growth. Each ring contains the former year’s perithecia that shot off ascospores (Figure 2). The next year a new layer of perithecia will develop along the outer edge of the stroma. When the ascospores are forcibly ejected, a black halo will develop on the surrounding wood (Figure 1). Spore prints of this fungus will reveal this halo effect up to 3 cm away from the stroma. The black ascospores are ellipsoidal to fusiform and average in size from 12-17 by 6-9 µm (Figure 3).

Daldinia concentrica is a part of the Ascomycetes within the class: Sordariomycetes, order: Xylariales and family: Xylariaceae. This fungus was first described in 1971 by James Bolton under the name Sphaeria concentrica. The fungus was transferred to the genus Daldinia in 1863 by Italian mycologists Ceasti and De Notaris.

Figure 3. The black ascospores from the outer layer of the stroma containing new perithecia.

Recently, the compound concentricolide was isolated from the fruiting bodies of the fungus. This compound was found to inhibit the cytopathoic effects of HIV. Which has since ben patented and synthesized for use as an anti-HIV agent.

 

Literature Cited:

Liu JK, Fang LZ 2009. First synthesis of racemic concentrocolide, an anti-HIV-1 agent isolated from the fungus Daldinia concentrica. Hertocycles DOI: 10.3987/COM-09-11704.

O’Reilly P 2011. Daldininia concentrica (Bolton) Ces. & De Not. –King Alfred’s cakes  in Fascinated by fungi http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/piptoporus-betulinus.php Access Nov 21, 2016.

Qin XD, Dong ZJ, Liu JK, Yang LM, Wang RR, Zheng YT, Lu Y, Wu YS, Zheng QT. 2006. Concentricolide, an anti-HIV agent from the ascomycete Daldinia concentrica. Helvetica chimica acta 89: 127-133.

Author: Amy Baetsen-Young
Date Posted: 11-30-2016



Hericium coralloides (Scopoli) Persoon

Global distribution of Hericium coralloides from eol.org. http://eol.org/pages/133420/maps

Global distribution of Hericium coralloides from eol.org. http://eol.org/pages/133420/maps

Habitat and distribution: The coral tooth fungus (Hericium coralloides), is common throughout the global temperate zone and less

H. coralloides in situ. Growing on a rotting maple log.

H. coralloides in situ. Growing on a rotting maple log.

frequent in the tropics (EOL.org). It grows on rotting hardwood (Arora, 1976), and produces fruiting bodies from late summer to fall (Kuo & Methven, 2014). I found this specimen on a fallen maple log in early October in the Baker woodlot on the MSU campus.

Taxonomic placement: H. coralloides (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycotina, Russulales, Hericiaceae) (Mycobank.org) was first described by Scopoli in 1772 as Hydnum coralloides, and renamed as Hericium coralloides by Persoon in 1794. This species is also synonymous with Hydnum coralloideum H. clathroides, H. laciniatum, H. ramosum, H. caput-ursi, H. aciculare, H. novae-zelandiae, Medusina coralloides, Merisma coralloides, Friestes coralloides, Manina coralloides, Clavaris madreporaeformis, Hericium reichii, and Dryodon aciculare (Mycobank.org).

H. coralloides fruiting body. note the prominent teeth and branched structure which gives the fruiting body a 'lumpy' appearance overall.

H. coralloides fruiting body. note the prominent teeth and branched structure which gives the fruiting body a ‘lumpy’ appearance overall.

Fruiting body: Hericium coralloides is easily spotted because its fruiting body stands out white against the substrate, which is usually darker. It bears distinct, long (~ 1cm) teeth hanging downwards from irregularly-shaped fruiting bodies that do not have a distinguishable cap. They can be easily mistaken for which is also white and does not have a cap, but is distinguishable because the teeth of H. coralloides originate from branched structures. This gives the fruiting body an overall clumpy appearance. H erinaceus does not have branches, and therefore looks more smoothly cohesive, covered in slightly longer teeth (1-6 cm) (Kuo & Methven, 2014).

Branches and teeth of H. coralloides magnified by a dissecting microsope.

Branches and teeth of H. coralloides magnified by a dissecting microsope.

Microscopic features: Though I could not find any on this specimen, the spores of H. coralloides are small (~4 x 4 µm), spherical or nearly so, amyloid, and smooth or very finely textured (Kuo & Methven 2014).

Ecology and relevance to society: H. coralloides is attractive to forest scientists because it recycles carbon and other nutrients by decomposing dead hardwood logs and branches (Crockatt et al. 2008; Boddy et al., 2011). They are also economically important because they are edible (Arora 1976; Ko et al. 2004; Zou et al., 2012) and important to the mushroom cultivation industry because they can be sold as home mushroom-growing kits. The species also has used medicinally in some traditions and has been the subject of recent research due to its possibly utility in neurological regeneration (Pallua et al., 2012; Wittstein et al., 2016).

 

Sources:

Arora, D. 1976. Mushrooms Demystified: a comprehensive guide to the fleshy fungi. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA.

Boddy, L., M.E. Crochatt, and A.M. Ainsworth. 2011. Ecology of Hericium cirrhatum, H. coralloides and H. erinaceus in the UK. Fingal Ecology. 4(2):163-173.

Crockatt, M.E., G.I. Pierce, R.A. Camden, P.M. Newell, and L. Boddy. Homokaryons are more combative than heterokaryons of Hericium coralloides. 2008. Fungal Ecology 1(1): 40-48.

EOL: Hericium coralloides Coral tooth. http://www.eol.org/pages/133420/maps. Accessed November 21, 2016.

Hericium coralloides. Mycobank.org. Accessed November 21, 2016.

Ko, H.G., H.G. Park, S.H. Park, C.W. Choi, S.H. Kim, and W.M. Park. 2005. Comparative study of mycelial growth and basidiomata formation in seven different species of the edible mushroom genus Hericium. Bioresource Technology 96(13) 1439-1444.

Kuo, M., and A.S. Methven. 2014. Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, Chicago, Springfield.

Pallua, J.D., W. Recheis. R. Pӧder, K. Pfaller, C. Pezzei, H. Hahn, V. Huck-Pezzei, L.K. Bittner, G. Schaefer, E. Steiner, G. Andre, S. Hutwimmer, S. Felber, A.K. Pallua, A.F. Pallua, G.K. Bonn, and C.W. Huck. 2012. Morphological and tissue characterization of the medicianla fungus Hericium coralloides by a structural and molecular imaging platform. Analyst. 137:1584-1595.

Persoon, C.H. 1794. Neuer Versuch einer systematischen Eintheilung der Schwämme. Neues Magazin für die Botanik. 1:63-80.

Scopoli. 1772. Flora carniolica 2:472.

Wittstein, K., M. Rascher, Z. Rupcic, E. Lӧwen, B. Winter, R.W. Kӧster, and M. Stadler. 2016. Corallocins, A-C, nerve growth and brain-derived neurotrophic factor inducing metabolites from the mushroom Hericium coralloides. Journal of Natural Products 79(9) 2264-2269.

Zou, Y., H. Wang, T. Ng, C. Huang, and J. Zhang. 2012. Purification and characterization of a novel laccase from the edible mushroom Hericium coralloides. The Journal of Microbiology 50(1): 72-78.

Author: Rachel Osborn
Date Posted: 11-29-2016



Fusarium virguliforme

Figure 1. Interveinal chlorosis of a soybean leaf from subsequent infection with F. virguliforme

Figure 1. Interveinal chlorosis of a soybean leaf from subsequent infection with F. virguliforme

Primarily known as the causal agent of soybean sudden death (SDS) in the United States, Fusarium virguliforme (O’Donnell & Aoki) is an ascomycete fungus within the family Nectriaceae, that colonizes soybean roots during cool-wet spring. This fungus is persistent within the soil and produces necrosis symptoms in roots while colonizing to the xylem tissues, where the pathogen secretes phytotoxins. The host response creates a characteristic symptom of interveinal leaf scorch associated with SDS (Figure 1). Root infection and leaf scorch leads to a reduction of overall plant biomass, flowering and pod loss, and thus yields. As the soybean plants mature, blue sporodochia fruiting bodies will develop on the tap root averaging <5 mm in size till they coalesce (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Blue sporodochia mass developing on a soybean tap root.

Figure 2. Blue sporodochia mass developing on a soybean tap root.

The sporodochia contain macroconidia, a canoe shaped muti-septate (2-5) asexual spore structure averaging 50-60 μm long by 5-5.5 μm long (Aoki et al., 2005) (Figure 3). Macroconidia act as inoculum for the following season, but microconidia and chlamydospores (resting spore structures) are produced and can overwinter till the next growing season as well.

 

Recently, a broader host range was documented for Fusarium virguliforme, including alfalfa, pinto bean, navy bean, red and white clover, Canadian milk vetch, sugar bean, canola, corn, wheat, ryegrass, pigweed and lambsquarter (Kolander et al., 2012). The broad host range of this pathogen may limit efficacy of cultural management practices.

 

Figure 3. Macroconidia of F. virguliforme

Figure 3. Macroconidia of F. virguliforme

This species was first described in 2003 by Aoki and O’Donnell, formerly described as Fusarium solani f. sp. glycines. This fungus was first reported in 1971 in the United States (Hirrel, 1983).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Cited:

Aoki T, O’Donnell K, Homma Y, Lattanzi AR 2003. Sudden-death syndrome of soybean is caused by two morphologically and phylogenetically distinct species within the Fusarium solani species complex-F. virguliforme in North Ameria and F. tucumaniae in South America. Mycologia 95: 660-684

Aoki T, O’Donnell K, Scandiani MM 2005. Sudden death syndrom of soybean in South America is caused by four species of Fusarium: Fusarium brasiliense sp. nov., F. cuneirostrum sp. nov., F. tucumaniae and F. virguliforme. Mycoscience 46:162-183

Hirrel M 1983. Sudden-death syndrome of soybean-a disease of unknown etiology. Phytopathology 73: 501-502

Kolander TM, Bienapfl JE, Kurle JE, Malvick DK (2012) Symptomatic and asymptomatic host range of Fusarium virguliforme, the causal agent of soybean sudden death syndrome. Plant Disease 96: 1148-1153

Author: Amy Baetsen-Young
Date Posted: 11-29-2016



Galerina pumila (Pers.) M. Lange

Galerina pulmila, or Dwarf Bell, is a small inconspicuous brown mushroom, but it is important because it belongs to the Galerina genus, some of the deadliest mushrooms since they produce similar compounds to Aminitas or ‘death cap’ fungi. The saprobic fungus fruits primarily in the fall, in moist, mossy areas, or may fruit in lawns after heavy rains when the ground is wet (Figure 1). It is small, only about 4-7 cm tall, caps 3-5 cm diameter, stipe without vial, hollow, and delicate. Gills are widely spaced and similar color as the cap (Figure 3). Spore print is brown to buff (Figure 2). It grows singly or in small groups. Basidiospores are ellipsoid and 10-13 μm long and about 6 μm across.

This species is not worth figuring out if it is edible since it belongs to the Galerina genus. Members of this genus contain amatoxins and alpha-amanitin toxins which can be deadly. It can be confused with any little brown mushroom, but especially looks similar to non-toxic Marasimus oreades the “fairy ring mushroom”.

 

galerina_palmilablog

Figure 1. Galerina pulmila growing in a moist grassy area after a few days of rain.

 

sporeprintgalerina

Figure 2. Spore print of Galerina pulmila

 

gils_galeriinapulmila

Figure 3. Widely spaced gills of Galerina pulmila

References:

http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/galerina-pumila.php

Author: Zach Noel
Date Posted: 11-28-2016



Armillaria mellea (Vahl)P.Kumm

Armillaria mellea is a basidiomycete that is known as both a plant pathogen and as an edible, with the common name ‘honey mushroom.’

Description

A. mellea produces honey colored mushrooms with an annulus near the base of the cap. The caps often are darker in the middle and fade out into a more classic honey color along the margins. The mushrooms grow in clusters and caps can get up to six inches in diameter (Figure 1).

Another interesting feature of this fungus is the fact that it produces rhizomorphs (Figure 2). Rhizomorphs are dark, thick hyphae structures that allow Armillaria to move quicker. If one suspected that their hardwood tree was dying due to a root rot, one way to determine if it is Armillaria is to pull back the bark and check for the next of rhizomorphs moving up the tree. The rhizomorphs isolated in figure 2 were collected this way.

The last sign of this fungus attacking a tree is a white mycelial fan that occurred under the bark of an infected tree as well.

The tail-tell sign of separating A. mellea from other Armillaria species  is their basida are not clamped at the bases.

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Figure 1: Close up of immature A. mellea mushrooms near base of a dead oak tree in Baker’s wood lot on Michigan State University’s campus.

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Figure 2: Collection made from dead oak tree in Baker’s wood lot on MSU campus. There were three stages of A mellea present on oak stump; top of picture are rhizomorphs, bottom left are young mushrooms; bottom right are mature mushrooms.

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Figure 3: Pure culture of A. mellea grown from a single spore obtained from a mature mushroom. Note the rhizomorphs growing through the agar.

Habitat

Armillaria mellea is considered a northern hemisphere fungi, occurring in northern North America, Europe and Asia (McKnight and McKnight, 1987).

Plant Pathogen

Armillaria mellea is a common problem in hardwood plantings in Michigan. A large concern of this pathogen comes from sour cherry growers, who can lose large swaths of orchards to this disease (Proffer et al., 1987). The rhizomorphs can move down a row of cherries rather quickly. Horticulturists have also attempted to breed resistant cherry rootstock, with little success.

Edible mushroom

Armillaria mellea is edible, but it is not everyone’s favorite foraged mushroom. They can range from a ‘mild mushroomy’ taste to a more ‘bitter mushroomy’ taste that gets sweeter as the meal goes on (personal observation). They are good in stir frys and just fried up with oil; I personally like them when they are young and more ‘button’ shaped (like in Figure 2, bottom left).

As always, if you are not sure about the identification of a mushroom, do not eat it. There are plenty of other mushrooms that resemble Armillaria spp one being a jack-o-lantern fungus.(http://www.mushroomexpert.com/omphalotus_illudens.html)

 

References:

Proffer, T. J., Jones, A. L., and Ehret, G. R. 1987. Biological species of Armillaria isolated from sour cherry orchards in Michigan. Phytopathology 77:941-943.

McKnight, K. H., & McKnight, V. B. (1987). Mushrooms of North America. Norwalk, CT: Easton Press. Page 136: Armillaria mellea.

Author: Suzanne Slack
Date Posted: 11-27-2016



Yartsa gunbu (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) – Entomopathogen nicknamed Himalayan Viagra.

News:

Himalayan locals sustainably cultivate natural aphrodisiac as Big Pharma seeks to cash in

High up in the Himalayan mountains, hidden in the quiet pastures, grows a rare medicinal fungus. Nicknamed Himalayan Viagra, Yartsa gunbu (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) is harvested in early spring from the mummified bodies of caterpillars. When ghost moth caterpillars burrow into the ground, the rare fungus invades their cocoons. The fungus, appearing as dime-sized spores, is collected from the grasslands in early spring from mummified caterpillar bodies high up in the Himalayan Mountains across the Tibetan Plateau.

The small communities of Nubri and Tsum, located high up near Nepal’s northern Gorkha District border, have put together a plan locally to cultivate Yartsa gunbu sustainably and share its wealth among its villagers. Those who register with the village to harvest the fungus have gone from poverty to riches. Average annual incomes have been multiplied by eight. Villagers who used to earn hundreds of dollars a year now earn up to $4,000. For some, collecting Yartsa gunbu provides 80 percent or more of their income for the entire year.

Fungus:

Ophiocordyceps sinensis is a fungus that parasitizes larvae of ghost moths and produces a fruiting body valued as an herbal remedy found in mountainous regions of India, Nepal, and Tibet. The fungus germinates in the living larva, kills and mummifies it, and then the stalk-like fruiting body emerges from the corpse. It is known in English colloquially as caterpillar fungus, or by its more prominent names Yartsa Gunbu

Similar to other Cordyceps species, O. sinensis consists of two parts, a fungal endo sclerotium (caterpillar) and stroma. The fertile part of the stroma is the head. The head is granular because of the ostioles of the embedded perithecia. The perithecia are ordinally arranged and ovoid. The asci are cylindrical or slightly tapering at both ends, and may be straight or curved, and may be two to four-spored. Similarly, ascospores are hyaline, filiform, multiseptate.

The species was first described scientifically by Miles Berkeley in 1843 as Sphaeria sinensis; Pier Andrea Saccardo transferred the species to the genus Cordyceps in 1878. Based on a molecular phylogenetic study, Sung et al. (2007) separated the megagenus Cordyceps into four genera as it was polyphyletic, viz. Cordyceps , Ophiocordyceps, Metacordyceps and Elaphocordyceps.  As a result, C. sinensis was transferred to Ophiocordyceps, hence renamed as O. sinensis.

 

 

life-cycle

caterpiller-fungus

 

Reference:

Shrestha B.; Weimin Z.; Yongjie Z.; Xingzhong L. (2010). “What is the Chinese caterpillar fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Ophiocordycipitaceae)?.”. Mycology: An International Journal On Fungal Biology. 1 (4): 228–236. doi:10.1080/21501203.2010.536791

Author: Gayathri Kotamraju
Date Posted: 11-22-2016



Curvularia malina sp. nov causal agent of a new turfgrass disease

Figure 1. Field and foliar symptoms of Curvularia malina on turfgrass.

Figure 1. Field and foliar symptoms of Curvularia malina on zoysiagrass (A) and bermudagrass (B, C).

Recently, a strange ink spill looking turfgrass disease was reported in Science Daily. Warm season turfgrasses of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass were developing symptoms of black to chocolate brown spots, in 2-15 cm diameter patches on golf course putting greens, fairways and tee boxes. The initial symptoms manifest in the form of small purple black spots, developing into necrotic dark brown centers enveloped by brownish-black margins on leaves (Figure 1). Two universities (Mississippi State University, Texas A&M) independently isolated a sterile fungus with dark mycelia, and similar symptoms were reported in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, China and Japan, indicating global prevalence. Similar foliar diseases of warm season turfgrasses have been previously reported with in the genus of Curvularia. Koch’s postulates were completed with two isolates to confirm the causal agent. Then multilocus phylogenetic analyses of the ITS region (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2), glyeraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD1) and translational elongation factor 1-alpha (TEF1) were completed on 16 isolates to reveal relationships of the unidentified sterile fungus to similar Curvularia ex-types and reference cultures. The phylogenetic tree revealed all the isolates fell into a single clade, supported by 96% maximum likelihood bootstrapping and Bayesian posterior probably of 1.0, indicating a new species of Curvularia. The epithet, malina, is derived from the dark color of the mycelia and the dark, inky stained symptomology of this disease.

 

 

To find more information:

Texas A&M AgriLife. “Spooky new fungal disease on southern golf courses unmasked.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161031165142.htm>.

Tomaso-Peterson, Y.-K. Jo, P. L. Vines, F. G. Hoffmann.Curvularia malina sp. nov. incites a new disease of warm-season turfgrasses in the southeastern United States.Mycologia, 2016; 108 (5): 915 DOI: 10.3852/15-238

 

Author: Amy Baetsen-Young
Date Posted: 11-22-2016