Sirex noctilio, known as the “Sirex woodwasp” or “European woodwasp” (sometimes spelled “wood wasp”), is an invasive species that attacks most species of pine trees. Interestingly, the insect is dependent upon the fungus Amylostereum aerolatum to complete its life cycle. The Sirex woodwasp carries the fungus with it to new trees and in return the fungus becomes a meal for the Sirex woodwasp’s larvae.
mushrooms with a crust morphology
This bright, attractive fungus is a great example of how confusing mushrooms can be. Byssomerulius incarnatus is distinguished by its bright pink cap and rough undersurface. Although its spore-producing surface is not smooth, it is still considered a crust fungus. To add to the confusion, it is still being shuffled around through a few different genera and it has some kind of relationship with Stereum ostrea (FFF#144) that has yet to be researched.
This mushroom is a common sight on hardwood logs at any time of the year. Its fan shape and circular zones of orange and brown colors make Stereum ostrea look very similar to the true Turkey Tail, Trametes versicolor. ostrea, the “False Turkey Tail,” has a smooth undersurface, which easily distinguishes it from T. versicolor.
Xylobolus frustulatus is one of my favorite fungi. It’s not particularly interesting, but there is just something surreal about the way it covers the surfaces of logs. From a distance, the fungus looks like a thin layer of weathered paper or parchment covering the surface of a log. Upon closer inspection, however, the fruiting bodies look more like a mosaic composed of tiny, white, ceramic tiles. Thanks to its unique appearance, frustulatus is often called either “the Ceramic Fungus” or “the Ceramic Parchment.”
This is a broad group of fungi that includes all basidiomycete mushrooms with an exposed spore surface that is smooth or mostly smooth. This group excludes all mushrooms that may be placed into the other morphological groups that I have described previously as well as all lichenized fungi. For example, many chanterelles and corals have a mostly smooth hymenium but are not included in the crust fungi. There are also a number of ascomycetes that fit this description, although they are usually not included at all in field guides. These ascos tend to have small dots or pimples where the spores are released, whereas crust fungi do not have such a distinction. Crust-like ascos also tend to be harder than their basidiomycete counterparts, making microscopic examination somewhat difficult.
How to use a trees to identify a mushroom (without seeing the actual mushrooms): If you are more than a casual observer of trees you have probably learned that oak trees often have smooth patches in their normally rough bark. What you may not know is that these smooth patches are caused by the fungus Aleurodiscus oakesii. This fungus only feeds off of the tree’s bark, so it does not cause any damage to the tree. However, it does result in patches of bark that are more smooth than usual. These patches are known as “smooth patch disease.” As the fungus is not harmful to the tree, the main impact of the disease is the undesirable cosmetic effect it has on trees in peoples’ The disease is common on oaks, especially on white oaks, although it can be found on many other hardwoods. The fungus produces tiny mushrooms that are...