This is one of my favourite fungi. Its' botanical name is Daldinia concentrica, it is a wood degrading fungi that favours ash as a host, and deadwood for its' food source.
This fungus found on a live tree will be growing on deadwood or dysfunctional tissue and indicates the presence of a primary pathogen, or circumstances that have already had a detrimental affect on the tree. The tree is therefore under stress.
Yesterday I visited woodland where many ash trees were felled 2-3 years ago due to poor condition. The woodland is small and situated adjacent to public highway, footpaths and a nursing home, so dealing with hazards was a priority of management.
Most of the ash trees removed appear to have been felled due to structural flaws or infection by the fungus Inonotus hispidus, Ash Heart Rot. (Despite the common name this fungus can be found on other tree species. It is also known as Walnut Heart Rot and Shaggy Bracket.)
The larger sections of the main stem and primary limbs (Primary Limbs - The main structural branches of a tree joined directly to the main stem.)have been sectioned and kept on site as habitat piles and to avoid unnecessary disturbance into a woodland populated densely by badgers.
Since being felled the ash wood has been devoured by Daldinia concentrica and I got many wonderful photos of it old and new.
This fungus releases its spores through tiny holes in the surface. It is termed an ascomycetes as it throws its spores out where as many other fungus, mushrooms and bracket fungi, drop their spores out from the underside of the fruit, termed basidiomycetes.
The more bronzed fruiting bodies are older and becoming dysfunctional, new fruiting bodies will replace them and are black.
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