Appreciation: Polypore Activity Questions

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by mikephillips, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. mikephillips

    mikephillips Member

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    The other day while I was photographing a youngish Phaeolus, a couple of questions arose, a new one and an old one. The old one: Some polypores -- conks, crusts, this Phaeolus and others -- seem to exude drops of liquid, often more or less colourless, sometimes red or darker colours, though still transparent. What is the function of this, is it related to spore dispersal and if so how? I've not been able to find this mentioned anywhere. A link will do. In the attached pics, there are such drops near the bottom.

    The new question is about a wet brown splotch that appears and develops in the three pics from the other day, spanning three minutes. My reading suggests that this Phaeolus (schweinitzii) bruises brown. Is this such a bruise? I was not aware of even bumping it, but perhaps that's what happened. First two pics are just a minute apart, when the splotch first and most dramatically appears, then it develops further in the next two minutes. It doesn't look like what I would call a bruise, but I don't know anything about this really.

    Just for interest, I include a fourth pic, taken six days earlier of this fungus, when it was so young and small I couldn't tell whether it would turn into a polypore or toothed fungus, as both classes have many similarities.

    Ha ha! Another question: What is this tendency called, among polypores and spinies (toothed fungi), to grow rococo/hodgepodge overall structures whereby forms or units below are replicated (usually smaller) above, as if growing in modules? I've been calling it modular.

    Thanks, Mike
     

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  2. Frog

    Frog Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for bringing up interesting questions! I love polypores, so I appreciate the topic also.

    I'm used to calling the growth pattern "shelving" and the growing around objects is often a result of this being an "indeterminate growth" mushroom. The shelving I expect relates to creating maximum surface area for spore dispersal.

    More later, out of time this morning :-)
    frog
     
  3. mikephillips

    mikephillips Member

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    Cool, I look forward to more :-)
     
  4. Frog

    Frog Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It's true I'd much rather discuss this than go to work! :-)

    ... so anyways... My understanding is that there has not been much investigation of the "guttation" or exuding of liquid by some polypores.

    Aside from a theory that this is the shedding of excess water, sort of a sweating method, I can see some potential theories coming that related to the complex relationships fungi have with invertebrates. The life cycles of many invert revolved around fungi, and there are a huge number of species with special relationships with polypores. Since nature tends to be a conservative, as in resources and energy are usually not wasted so each function has a purpose, I expect the guttation may have a connection with the insects who eg. inhabit or prey on these polypores.

    I don't think the purpose of the latex of Lactarius genus members has been adequately studied either (does anyone in the forum have info on this?) perhaps there would be similarities.

    I've tasted the F. pinicola guttation, mainly tastes like water but a hit of the lovely fragrance that this polypore gives off.

    But back to your Phaeolus bruising/droplets: Noting the influence of the spore colour of Phaeolus mixing with exuded water, I expect the droplets are staining the lighter coloured hymenium/pore surface. This is also called the Dyer's Polypore because of the powerful staining property useful for wool & fabric dyers. I carried one in my hand for a few hours and my fingers were stained brown for three days, unwashable. I would expect the taste of the droplets to be bitter.

    Yay polypores!
    :-)
    frog
     
  5. mikephillips

    mikephillips Member

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    Yay indeed. They and the spinies have helped me through a good deal of the slower summer season. There have been lots of both around here. Thanks for sharing all this, and now that i have a proper term, guttation, I can browse for more clues!

    "Shelving" doesn't quite cover the range of replicating kind of growth I was thinking of. One example would be a Bondarzewia I have seen a couple of times in the last couple of months (two nearby specimens, probably the same system underground). Spectacular but chaotic growth, ear-shaped lobes sprouting just about anywhere on top or on the side of other ear-shaped lobes. I don't have a picture handy but can send one later. Appropriate in this thread or another one?
     
  6. Frog

    Frog Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Mike,

    Yes please do post, that would be interesting: I think it makes sense to keep it in this same thread, as the Appreciation topic is polypore growth patterns and guttation rather than an individual species for an Identification topic.

    I'm thinking cross referencing "imbricate" (a more precise term than shelving for what you are describing) with "indeterminate growth" might turn up some better info on these engulfing & wild growth patterns.

    cheers,
    frog
     
  7. mikephillips

    mikephillips Member

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    Okay! The two Bondarzewia pics were only a month or so apart, it turns out. The first one was quite long-lived, though already past its peak when I found it. It also wasn't such an attractive example of replicating forms as I had thought, so just a pic of its very polyporous underside. The second is magnifique, in its prime, but doomed for a shorter life since slugs had weakened much of its stem. Already it was leaning with part of the top is resting on the ground. In subsequent visits, large chunks were gone from some of the pilei, also thanks to slugs.
     

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