Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Pests & Diseases: Meripilus giganteus


During autumn many fungi produce their fruit, bearing spores, in order to reproduce. The fruit portion of a fungi presents itself as a mushroom or bracket and can be of an annual or perennial form.

This is the annual fruiting body of the principle decay fungi Meripilus giganteus, The Giant Polypore.

As discussed in Tree Biology - Defects, Signs and Symptoms  fungus can live on dead wood and live wood. This particular fungus feeds on the live wood of tree roots. It is strongly associated with Beech trees, Fagus sylvatica, but has also been found on other broadleaves such as Oak and London plane, and on the conifer Monkey puzzle, Araucaria araucana.

In addition to the ability to degrade live wood or dead wood, fungi create different types of rot, degrading different cellular components such as cellulose and lignin. In the next post we will discuss the different types of rot and their significance.

The nature of the rot that this fungus produces, and the part of the tree that it degrades, makes this a fungus of significance and I was very sorry to find it growing at the base of a beautiful and mature Beech tree at a school a few weeks ago. I will keep you posted on the fate of the tree.

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