Identification: Fungus or lichen growing on a Western Red Cedar (PNW)

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by chickadees, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. chickadees

    chickadees New Member

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    Any ideas what this is? It doesn't look like any lichens I'm familiar with. The tree seems to be healthy other than this growth. No sign of mushrooms other than what can be seen in these photos.

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  2. Frog

    Frog Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi @chickadees

    This appears to be the fruiting body of a crustose fungi rather than a lichen.

    I've been spending time this week working on crustose fungi identification so I can tell you with confidence ... that it is hard to get IDs for crustose :-).
    However, if you would take a closer up photo of the area on the branch underside, I can give it a whirl: It look like slight pileate formation there which may help. Also, I can't see the surface clearly at this distance: Am wondering if the centre is merulioid which if it is would help narrow ID.
    Red Cedar substrate may also help narrow things, as that is less usual.

    Cheers!
     
  3. chickadees

    chickadees New Member

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    Thanks for taking a look! Here are closeups of the stem.

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  4. Frog

    Frog Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thank you for the closeups @chickadees! I was hoping to luck out, to have this be one of the crusts I have already been reviewing, but no.
    So ... while I plod through the PNW crusts, I will keep these images in mind, so you might not hear back from me quickly.
    ... also important to note that some crusts require microscopy for accurate ID.

    There is of course a chance that this could be immediately familiar to a plant pathologist - particularly if it is specifically a red cedar associate. You could share the link to this thread in a post in the Conifers subforum here, in case there are any plant pathologists familiar with this?
     
  5. Katy Bigelow

    Katy Bigelow New Member

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    Coniohora puteana. Not harmful, shows up around now. (and in Jan when this was originally posted)
     
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  6. Frog

    Frog Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thank you @Katy Bigelow for chiming in on this, and welcome to the forums!

    What specific characters flag for you Coniophora puteana?
     
  7. Katy Bigelow

    Katy Bigelow New Member

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    Well, I am an arborist and see this come up on healthy trees around this time. I get asked about it by panicked clients. I'm no good with fungi key id but am familiar with those that cause degradation to wood or those that cause my clients concern :)
     
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  8. Frog

    Frog Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks @Katy Bigelow - it is tremendously useful to have an arborist's input, particularly on certain posts that come up!
     
  9. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    C. puteana is dangerous for timber structures. If you have wooden house or other buildings, then be careful not to infect your lumber. Not exactly as dangerous as Serpula lacrimans, but still a nasty thing.
     
  10. chickadees

    chickadees New Member

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    I forgot to update this thread. I had an arborist make the same identification as Katy, although I'm not sure that arborist would agree it's "not harmful". They said "This organism decays a tree [usually dead wood] at a rate of about a centimeter a year. Eventually, it will kill the tree or cause the tree to fall over but that may be a long time from now."
     
  11. Katy Bigelow

    Katy Bigelow New Member

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    Chickadees - tree risk and health assessment takes into account many factors. You yourself said this fungus decays ... dead wood> I will say that I've seen this 100% of my time on living wood and it is not doing the jog of decay - other fungi may be present that are affecting the tree but in the face of those, this is a very minor one to worry about for the health and structure of a tree.
     

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