Peziza erini New and seldom encountered
New and seldom encountered
This newly described, latex-producing truffle is a denizen of blue oak woodlands in north central California. Collected only twice, it appears to be rather rare, or perhaps it only fruits sporadically. Closest relatives differ morphologically from P. erini, and are distributed regionally and globally. To read more about this unusual subterranean fungus, click on the photo to access the article by Matthew Smith.
PhaeoclavulinaA delightfully diverse segregate of Ramaria
The fruiting bodies of Phaeoclavulina species are called coral fungi because of their coral-like branching patterns. Microscopically, Phaeoclavulina basidiospores may resemble miniscule spiny hedgehogs or warty toads, depending on whether the species is tropical or temperate! Species diversity and ecological patterns of Phaeoclavulina species in Mexico recently were assessed, along with implications for conservation of these fascinating fungi. To learn more about the remarkable diversity, rarity and ecology of species of Phaeoclavulina, click on the photograph of basidiospores to access the article by Gonzáles-Ávila et al. [file size: 979 kb].
A squamulose, corticate rarity!
Newly described, this lichen is currently known from only a single location in Oregon, USA. Diagnostic characters are not readily discerned, so better pack your hand lens if you intend to distinguish this lichen from its close relatives. To inspect photomicrographs of external and internal characters, click on the photograph for the article by Knudsen and McCune [file size: 633 kb].
Conidia that look like cat tracks!
Species of Vestigium produce spores likely to remind one of tiny paw prints when viewed with a microscope. The two described species lack clear phylogenetic affinity to any single fungal group, but on the basis of molecular data are allied to several unnamed endophytic fungi. To read more about V. felicis and the newly described second species, click on the photograph for the article by Shoemaker et al. [file size: 733 kb].
A new species from the Pacific Northwest
The species Phytophthora pluvialis, once designated only as "New Species 3," recently was described formally. This "fungus" (actually an oomycete, descended from an alga that lost its chlorophyll), is found in rainwater canopy drip in Oregon forests. Although responsible for many damaging epidemics of plant diseases, including that which caused the 19th century Irish potato famine, little is known about Phytophthora species in nature. To learn more about its habitats and habits, click on the photo of a colony of P. pluvialis, looking ghostly and ethereal, from the article by Reeser et al. [file size 305 kb].
A Northwest mushroom growing in mixed-conifer forests
The specific epithet is certainly appropriate for this majestic Amanita! Even though some Amanita species have acheived notoriety for being among the most poisonous of fungi, the taxonomy of this genus continues to undergo changes as more research is completed. In some cases, fungi described originally in Europe resemble fungi found in other parts of the world that turn out to be distinct species. Click on the photo to read the article by Bojantchev and Davis, who provide information on experiments with its edibility, and a rationale for caution [file size: 544kb].
A Northwest mushroom growing in mixed-conifer forests
Few species of Cortinarius are edible and some are quite poisonous. But once your basket has a few chanterelles or hedgehogs, you might pause to consider the merits of simply appreciating the 'corts' for the robust beauty of their form and their delicate, cinnamon-dusted fibrillose veils. Described from European forests, this species has now been sleuthed from British Columbia and Washington State. For more pictures of the mushroom and photomicrographs, and to read the description and comments by Ammirati et al. click on the image [file size: 231 kb].
A newly-recognized North American lichen
Previously known from Europe and Siberia, this uncommon and intriguing lichen is now reported from North America. The strange little fruiting bodies look like tiny hairs growing from wood. For scanning electron micrographs of spores, descriptions of habitats, distinctions from closely related species, and other details click on the photo from the article by McMullin et al. [file size: 300 kb].
A lichen occuring in western North America and Slovakia
Platismatia wheeleri is a lichen that is morphologically similar to Platismatia glauca. Until recently it was considered native to the intermountain region of western North America. Examination of herbarium collections formerly classified as P. glauca or some species of Parmotrema determined that the geographical range of P. wheeleri also includes southern California and the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia. As reported in the article by Allen et al., this research is a good example of how studying historical herbarium collections can provide new insights into the biology of lichens and other fungi. Click on the accompanying photo to see the article by Allen et al. [file size: 802 kb].
A fungus from an island paradise
If you really need another reason to visit Hawaii, you can add this pyrenomycete to your list! The teleomorph may look bland compared to 'dead man's fingers' and some other Xylariaceae. But the anamorph (pictured here) is as exotic as its locale, and so are lots of its cousins! Pack your microscope, your bottle of Meltzer's iodine, and book your flight! And don't forget to take the article by Rogers and Ju [file size: 1497 kb].
A crusty cutie!
You're hiking along the Columbia River and have stepped off the trail, when you become aware that your footsteps are suddenly noisier. Crunch, crunch! Welcome to the world of biotic soil crusts. These communities, home to lichens, bryophytes, and other microorganisms, require lack of disturbance and dry conditions to thrive. To read about the lichen Acarospora schleicheri, and about the special techniques required for its study, click on the image for the article by Root and McCune [file size: 1060 kb].
A cryptic canker culprit!
This cute little apothecium unfortunately belong to a fungus causing cankers on balsam fir. Formerly a variety of Gremmeniella abietina, the fungus is assigned separate species status on the basis of host specificity plus morphological and cultural characters. To read more about this species and its close relatives, click on the image for the article by Laflamme and Smerlis [file size: 370 kb].
A Washington reindeer lichen
Reindeer lichens in Washington State? Yes! One of them, Cladonia ciliata, even comes in two varieties: Cladonia ciliata var. tenuis (left) and C. ciliata var. ciliata (right), in natural co-occurrence in southwest Washington. To learn why they differ in color, and to find out about other reindeer lichens in Washington, click on the image for the article by Smith et al. [file size: 875 kb].
Cultivars of checkermallow (Sidalcea spp.) are generally less susceptible to rusts than common hollyhock, also in the Malvaceae. It was a surprise to find a specimen of S. malviflora so heavily rusted by P. sherardiana. On investigation, the incident constituted a new host-fungus record for Washington State. To read more about the fungus and symptoms on the host, click on the image for the report by Dugan and Nazaire [file size 858 kb].
An unusual lichen recently found in the Yukon
Gyalideopsis mexicana is a charming but deceptive little fungus that at first glance resembles a minute agaric. It is no such thing, but a member of the lichen family Gomphillaceae. Moreover, the specimens were discovered quite distant from the geographic area implied by the specific epithet. They were discovered near the Klondike Highway in the Yukon! To learn more about G. mexicana, click on the image from the article by Lendemer [file size 1505 kb].
A new resident of British Columbia
Depending on the person or the circumstances, blackberry bushes are either despised as thorny weeds or beloved for their juicy berries. This rust, apparently still expanding its range, is capable of inflicting severe damage on blackberry. To read more, and to see additional photomicrographs plus photographs of symptoms and damage, click on the image of teliospores from Callan et al. [file size 323 kb].
A common lichen with striking characters
Widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, H. pulverata is of interest for unique soredial development and its characteristic trailing habit. To learn more about H. pulverata and to inspect haunting images of its boreal habitat, click on the image from Nelson et al. [file size: 1880 kb].
A possible threat to an endangered butterfly
Pyrenopeziza plantaginis is a small discomycete, first reported from North America growing on the leaves of narrow-leafed plantain, Plantago lanceolata, a common weedy plant. Unfortunately, the location of this first report is a remnant prairie harboring the endangered butterfly "Taylor's checkerspot" which utilizes the plantain as a larval host. Incidental reports indicate damage to the plantain can be extensive. To find out more about this fungus, its host, and Taylor's checkerspot, click on the photo (a section of an apothecium showing asci and ascospores) from Stone et al. [file size: 2740 kb].
An alpine puffball
Lycoperdon cretaceaum is a warty and attractive (is this something only a mycologist would say?) alpine puffball. The species was placed in Lycoperdon by Berkeley, and is now back there again after spending time assigned to Calvatia! To learn why, and to read more about this fungus and other photogenic alpine puffballs, click on the photograph and read the article by Taiga Kasuya on Lycoperdales on the Beartooth Plateau [file size: 4972 kb].
A newly discovered Basidiomycete from Central America
A maze worthy of Daedalus! The hymenium of this new species from Central America seems as labyrinthine as that in which lurked the minotaur. And it turns violet! It is one of the species that “comprise the core of the genus Daedalea s.s.” To find out why, and to read more about Daedalea neotropica, click on the photo from Lindner et al [file size 2131 kb].