Identification: Black fungus on an American Beech tree

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by Jon45150, Dec 24, 2007.

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  1. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    Yesterday we were hiking through the woods in Shawnee State Park in Ohio and noticed this black (I assume) fungus growing on several of the Beech trees. I did not see it growing on any of the Blue Beech trees; only the American Beech trees.

    What is it? Is this specific to Beech trees, and if so can it kill the tree? I searched the 'net and did not find anything resembling this (see photos 1 & 2). These photos were taken on December 23 in Ohio after it has dipped below freezing several times this year and has snowed and (especially) rained quite a bit in December.

    Now on a few of the Blue Beech trees we saw some strange knots in the trunk which reminded me of crown gall, albeit the worst case I have ever seen. One knot (photo 3) was about 6" in diameter. From what I remember crown gall is caused by a fungus, but I am not sure.

    Maybe these are not the types of fungi this forum is all about...
     

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  2. tipularia

    tipularia Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Is this the Halloween Forest? The pink portions on the tumor will probably point to what is going on there. (Crown gall is caused by a bacterium and is also bumpy and lumpy, like a cauliflower).
     
  4. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    Yes, I saw this also, but it did not have the same "consistency", although I must admit I did not touch it even with a stick since I did not want to risk spreading it to other plants. Maybe it is sooty mold after months of being dormant from cold and rain?

    We have hiked through several different woods in the last few months, all with American Beech trees, and this is the first we have seen (or at least noticed) this.
     
  5. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    Maybe there would be a better response if I used the Latin names since this is an international forum.

    The first two pictures are of a "Fagus grandfolia" tree.

    The third picture is of a "Carpinus caroliniana" tree.

    As we learn more and more about plants I can understand why Latin is the preferred naming convention - the two trees above are not even in the same Family yet they share nearly the same common name. The second has about three common English names that I know of. One of which - Ironwood - is the same as "Ostrya Virginiana", but at least these are both in the Birch family.
     
  6. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    Actually we went on a nine mile hike through these woods and only a very small section had this black mold problem and only one tree had a gall that we saw.

    There was about a 1/2 mile section of Tsunga canadensis that was awesome. I love those trees.
     
  7. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    I asked the experts from this link to chime in. Hopefully they will respond.

    Looking at it again I think you may be right though. What else could it be?
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    That sooty mold looks quite similar. I think slime molds can be ruled out, as I don't think I've ever heard of them growing in such a way.
     
  9. pmmcginn

    pmmcginn Member

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    Jon, I happened to find the same type of black fungus here in MD, USA as well. I actually was in the woods at a friend's house and noticed three American beech trees having the same fungus on some branches. I personally had never seen this before but I cut off a branch that I will show at the Master Gardeners Program I am attending. Hopefully some master gardeners will have an answer.
    What I noticed is that the fungus sits on the branch and doesn't go all the way around it. Will keep you posted on what I find out. pmmcginn.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  10. blnewton

    blnewton Member

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    I live in Harlty Delaware and have been seeing this black stuff all over the woods here. I have been looking around the internet for anything to tell me what it is. I know it spreads fast, I put a trail marker 1 inch wide and about 9 inches long on a branch and went that way 5 days later and the marker had the hard black fungus all over it. After I seen that I didn't want to remove the marker.
     
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