Gallery of Featured Fungi

Featured Fungus Number 41

Nemania serpens var. hydnicola
A fungicolous fungus

Fungi can grow on almost everything, including other fungi. Those that do are called "fungicolous fungi." The photo shows stromata of the xylariaceous Ascomycete Nemania serpens var. hydnicola (Schwein.) Y.-M. Ju and J.D. Rogers, fruiting on the hymenial surface of a detached, rotting Fomitopsis pinicola (Sw.:Fr.) P. Karst. conk collected near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  Nemania serpens var. hydnicola differs from the typical variety in that its ascus rings are amyloid, the ascospores have abruptly narrowed or "pinched" ends, and it is frequently fungicolous on Fomitopsis pinicola. Collection records from North America are rare to date, possibly due to the cryptic habit and preferred substrate of this fungus. For more information on N. serpens var. hydnicola, including the unusual ability of an isolate to fruit in culture, click on the accompanying photo. [file size:  675 kb] 


Featured Fungus Number 42

Myrothecium roridum
A newly discovered endophyte of Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaoulis)

The asexual fungus Myrothecium roridum is a rather mysterious organism, pathogenic on cotton plants in India, coffee plants in Guatemala, as other hosts on which it produces leaf spots, cankers, or rots. Endophytic isolates of M. roridum can produce biologically active trichothecenes with potential for activity against important plant pathogens such as the rice blast fungus, Pyricularia oryzae and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Although reported from some 263 host species representing 119 genera, until very recently all known hosts were angiosperms. Recently M. roridum was isolated from Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaoulis ) in Oregon, the first time it has been found growing in a gymnosperm. Because of its ability to produce metabolites that impede growth of other fungi, it is possible that M. roridum may have a role in combating Cronartium ribicola, the cause of white pine blister rust, one of the most damaging plant pathogens introduced by people into North America. For more information click on the accompanying photograph of hyphae produced by M. roridum in culture. [file size:  508 kb] 


Featured Fungus Number 43

Lecidea ramulosa
A new lichen species from the Bering Sea region

Lecidea ramulosa is an unusual, minutely fruticose species in this normally crustose genus. Note the black apothecium, the terete white branching thallus, and a possible dark parasitic fungus. This lichen, along with many other lichenized fungi, contributes to high biodiversity in Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. This lichen was featured in a recent study focused on macrolichen diversity that also included numerous reports of microlichens. A total of 364 taxa were reported. The 88 0.38-ha plots included in the study averaged 26 species of macrolichens, while the best estimate of the true average was 42 species per plot. The raw estimate of gamma diversity (park-wide macrolichen species richness) was 209 species, with jackknife estimates adjusting this to 255 or 290 species, depending on the estimator. Overall beta diversity was rather high at 7.1, reflecting the considerable variation in lichen communities among topographic positions, rock chemistry, substrate pH, climate, and vegetation. To learn more about the diversity of lichens in Noatak Preserve, along with comparisons to Bering Land Bridge Preserve, click on the accompanying illustration [file size: 408 kb]. 


Featured Fungus Number 44

Poroleprieuria rogersii
A strange, saprobic fungus from the tropics 

Poroleprieuria rogersii is an unusual tropical pyrenomycete found growing on dead wood. It produces small vertical, cylindrical, carbonaceous stromata with perithecia embedded in the apices. Perithecia contain cylindrical asci with brown, one-celled, inaequilateral ascospores that are expelled through ostioles at the stromatal tips. Superficially the fungus resembles species of Leprieuria, but it differs from that genus in forming ascospores with germ pores instead of germ slits. For this reason the fungus was placed in the new genus Poroleprieuria, as Poroleprieuria rogersii. The species was named in honor of Professor Jack D. Rogers of Washington State University, who has devoted his career to the study of xylariaceous fungi. The fungus is known only from the State of Puebla in south-central Mexico. For more information about Mexican Ascomycetes, click on the accompanying photograph that shows two distinctive stromata (approximately 7 mm high) characteristic of P. rogersii. [file size: 274 kb]. 


Featured Fungus Number 45

Xylaria griseo-olivacea
A rare fungus of neotropical cloud forests and wet lowland forests

I thought little Martians had landed when Sharon Matola brought in the Xylaria griseo-olivacea J.D. Rogers & Rossman pictured here. We were collecting fungi in a cloud forest on the highest peak in Belize in Central America known as Doyle's Delight. The peak's name refers to Arthur Connan Doyle's book about a lost world on an isolated tepui in Venezuela that was subsequently featured in the movie ‘Up'. The cloud forest we explored in Belize was of special interest to us as it and neighboring peaks have remained above sea level since the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, and may thus harbor relic species. A number of species found at Doyle's Delight were known previously only from Amazonia, including X. griseo-olivacea . This unusual, species of Xylaria with green globose-stipitate stromata is known from only a few collections in Venezuela and Ecuador. It was originally described by Rogers et al. in a paper on the fungi of Cerro de Neblina – a cloud-covered tepui in Venezuela, but the type collection was actually made at a lowland Amazonian airport near the base camp for their expedition. While X. griseo-olivaceae did not turn out to be a cloud forest endemic at potential risk of extinction for cloud base lifting associated with regional and global climate change, it and X. platypoda (another rare Amazonian species with a disjunct distribution) served as the impetus to answer this question. Several other species of Xylaria were found to be restricted to cloud forests and high elevations in the Neotropics. [Contributed by D. Jean Lodge.] For more information about montane and cloud forest specialists among Neotropical Xylaria, click on the accompanying photograph of X. griseo-olivacea. [file size: 225 kb]. 


Featured Fungus Number 46

Armillaria solidipes
A common root-rotting fungus attacking conifers in North America

Armillaria solidipes, pictured at left, is a common mushroom fungus that causes a root-rot disease across the northern United States and throughout Canada's conifer forests. The species has been known as A. ostoyae since 1970 but recent studies demonstrated that C.H Peck named this species A. solidipes in 1900, seventy years before the name A. ostoyae was coined. Thus, A. solidipes is the name that is proper for this species. Such name changes, even for common and economically important fungi, are made frequently because we are in the early stages of understanding the biology and classification of fungi. The considerations leading to the use of Peck's name for this species can be found in the article by Burdsall and Volk, which can be accessed by clicking on the photo at the left. [file size: 467 kb]


Featured Fungus Number 47

Dendrothele gilbertsonii
A recently described new species from southern Arizona

The genus Dendrothele includes several dozen species of Basidiomycetes that produce reduced fruiting bodies (known as basidiomes) on substrates such as tree bark. Macroscopically, a Dendrothele basidiome could be mistaken for a splash of dried paint, but microscopically the basidiomes reveal themselves to be composed of complex tangles of specialized hyphae and basidia. Analyses of DNA sequences indicate that the genus is polyphyletic, suggesting that strong selection pressures have favored the simplification of basidium-producing structures in a variety of lineages. The species Dendrothele gilbertsonii was based on specimens collected from Quercus arizonica at a single location in southern Arizona. One can only speculate about the geographical distribution of this species—is it truly restricted to one site or would additional collecting determine it to have a wider distribution? Providing a clear description of the species gives mycologists information they need to address this and other mysterious aspects of the biology of this fungus. Click on the accompanying photograph of a basidiome of this species (scale bar = 3 mm) to see the article by Nakasone on this and other species of Dendrothele. [file size: 1673 kb] 


Featured Fungus Number 48

Leightoniomyces phillipsii
A soil-dwelling fungus recently found for the first time in North America 

It is a truism in mycology that the known geographical ranges of fungi tend to mirror the distributions of scientists who know how to find them. The fungus Leightoniomyces phillipsii has been known for some time to occur in the British Isles and the Azores. Recently it was found near the town of Tenmile, Oregon, its first known occurrence in North America. The tiny fruiting bodies, called synnemata, could be seen only with a hand lens; perhaps their small size contributed to the fungus being overlooked by other workers. Although the Oregon fungus was found growing on soil, previous reports suggested that L. phillipsii can be lichenicolous (growing on lichens), and a report from 1875 indicated that it is muscicolous (growing on mosses). Now that it has been documented and described in North America, research is possible on other aspects of its biology, such as how it interacts with other organisms in the soil. For information on this newly recognized member of North America's mycota, click on the accompanying photograph of synnemata of L. phillipsii to read the article by McCune and Stone. [file size: 1325 kb] 


Featured Fungus Number 49

Puccinia jaceae
A possible biological control agent of Centaurea stoebe

The classification of rust fungi occurring on species of Centaurea is made difficult by the taxonomic confusion surrounding these plant hosts. Centaurea is one of the most complex genera of Asteraceae, including (according to estimates) 400-700 species. Despite these problems, scientists recently identified the rust fungus Puccinia jaceae on Centaurea stoebe in northern Idaho. The authors of the study report that C. stoebe is such a serious invader in western North America that twelve insect species have been introduced deliberately to attempt to control it. If managed effectively, it is possible that P. jaceae might also contribute to the biological control of C. stoebe, just as Puccinia chondrillina has been used to control Chondrilla juncea (rush skeleton weed) in Australia. For more information about this interesting fungus, click on the accompanying photo of a teliospore of P. jaceae (scale bar = 15 µm) for the article by Newcombe et al. [file size 2424 kb]. 


Featured Fungus Number 50

Annulohypoxylon truncatum
A widespread fungus fruiting on wood of Quercus spp
.

Recently documented in Panama for the first time, this fungus has been previously reported from the United States and Mexico. It seems to be associated with wood of Quercus spp. Many species of the Xylariaceae are amongst the most photogenic of fungi. This one, with perithecia clustered in pulvinate stromata, bears a superficial resemblance to some corals and bryzoans! Other newly reported species resemble miniature clubs or rusty nails. For more information about this interesting fungus and its relatives, click on the accompanying photo for the article by Carmona et al. [file size 781 kb]. 


Featured Fungus Number 51

Lichenomphalia alpina
An Arctic-Alpine Basidiolichen

Known from Arctic and alpine habitats, this lichenized agaric associates with green algae observed as small green balls at the base of the fruiting body. Originally placed in the genus Omphalina because of its macroscopic morphology, it was transferred to Lichenomphalia along with related lichenized species. DNA sequence data suggest the species is close to the redefined genus Arrhenia (also common in Arctic-Alpine habitats). Both genera now are included in the family Hygrophoraceae, along with the tropical cyanobasidiolichens. Their evolutionary radiation appears to be relatively recent. Click on the photo to view the article by Ohenoya & Ohenoya [file size 2831 kb] which lists another species of Lichenomphalia observed in the Canadian Arctic in wet boggy hummocks. Artic and alpine fungi are the topic of a special issue just published in North American Fungi. Photo by P. A. Moreau.


Featured Fungus Number 52

Aurantiopileus mayanensis
A new poriod basidiomycete from Central America 

This striking little fungus, the type of the new genus Aurantiopileus, grows on decorticated hardwood in a tropical cloud forest in Belize. Transferred to the new genus are two species formerly in Gloeoporus, so this little orange charmer will not be all by itself. To read more about the characters separating Aurantiopileus from similar genera, and for an appreciation of unique aspects of its remote habitat (Doyle's Delight, the highest peak in the Maya Mountains), click on the photograph for the article by Ginns et al. [file size 1016 kb]. 


Featured Fungus Number 53

Amanita groenlandica forme alpina


A newly recognized Rocky Mountain mushroom 

Amanita groenlandica is a circumpolar, Arctic mushroom. This new form, A. groenlandica f.alpina, fruits abundantly above tree line in the Beartooth and Hell-roaring Plateaus of the Northern Rocky Mountains. Amanita groenlandica f.alpina is taller, with a less viscid pileus, a lighter colored universal veil, and a more pronounced aroma than the Greenland Arctic form. The colors on the pileus also differ subtly from those of its Arctic relative. To find out more about this fungus (and for a view the spectacular Beartooth Plateau), click on the photograph from the article by Cripps and Horak [file size 1897 kb]. 


Featured Fungus Number 54

Pluteus chrysophlebius var. chrysophlebius
A mushroom of varied colors and a checkered nomenclatural career 

This specimen, which grew on decaying hardwood, is one of several vouchers and illustrations in a long nomenclatural and taxonomic odyssey. The mushroom has been studied by several famed mycologists, including Berkeley, Murrill, Pegler, Ravenel, Saccardo, Singer and others! For a history of this photogenic little mushroom, and a full description (including the lectotype), click on the accompanying photo from the article by Minnis and Sundberg [file size 6014 kb]. 


Featured Fungus Number 55

Bactrospora cascadensis
A newly recorded Alaskan lichen 

Bactrospora cascadensis is an attractive lichen with black ascocarps and an orange thallus. Most members of the genus occur in temperate or tropical regions, but this species, previously known in the Cascade Range of Washington State, is now recorded from Alaska. To learn more about its ecology, its photobiont, and its classification, click on the picture for the article by McCune and Ponzetti [file size: 2386 kb]. 


Featured Fungus Number 56

Daedalea neotropica
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]. 


Featured Fungus Number 57

Lycoperdon cretaceaum
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].


Featured Fungus Number 58

Pyrenopeziza plantaginis
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].


Featured Fungus Number 59

Hypogymnia pulverata
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].


Featured Fungus Number 60

Phragmidium violaceum
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].


Featured Fungus Number 61

Gyalideopsis mexicana
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]. 


Featured Fungus Number 62

Puccinia sherardiana
Hollyhock rust! 

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].


Featured Fungus Number 63

Cladonia ciliata
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]. 


Featured Fungus Number 64

Gremmeniella balsamea
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].


Featured Fungus Number 65

Acarospora schleicheri
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].


Featured Fungus Number 66

Xylaria moelleroclavus
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].


Featured Fungus Number 67

Platismatia wheeleri
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].


Featured Fungus Number 68

Calicium denigratum
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].


Featured Fungus Number 69

Cortinarius pinophilus
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].


Featured Fungus Number 70

Cortinarius pinophilus
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].


Featured Fungus Number 71

Phytophthora pluvialis
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].


Featured Fungus Number 72

Vestigium felicis
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].


Featured Fungus Number 73

Sarcogyne squamosa
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].


Featured Fungus Number 74

Phaeoclavulina

A 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].


Featured Fungus Number 75

Peziza erini

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.