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Fomitopsis pinicola

Fomitopsis pinicola
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
pores on hymenium
no distinct cap
hymenium is decurrent
lacks a stipe
spore print is yellow
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: inedible

Fomitopsis pinicola, is a stem decay fungi. Its conk (fruiting body), known as the Red-Belt Conk, is a polypore mushroom of the genus Fomitopsis. The species is common throughout the temperate Northern hemisphere. It is a decay fungi that serves as a small-scale disturbance agent in coastal rainforest ecosystems. It influences stand structure and succession in temperate rainforests. It performs essential nutrient cycling functions in forests.[1]

Physical Characteristics of Conk[edit]

Cap is hoof-shaped or triangular, hard and tough texture, up to 30-40 x 25 x 10 cm. Surface is more or less smooth, at first orange-yellow with a white margin, later dark reddish to brown and then frequently with orange margin. Pore surface is pale yellow to leather-brown, 3-4 pores per mm. Grows as thick shelves on live and dead coniferous or (less common) deciduous trees. .[2]

The fruiting body of Fomitopsis pinicola is called the conk. It is a woody, pileate fruiting body with pores lined with basidia on its underside. As in other polypores, the fruiting body is perennial with a new layer of pores produced each year on the bottom of the old pores. The pores are whitish when young and become somewhat brownish in age.[3] This mushroom is inedible due to its woody texture, but it is useful as tinder.

Stem Decay Characteristics[edit]

Most of the stem decay (heart rot) in mature forests that results from this fungus does not interfere with the normal growth and physiological processes of live trees since the vascular system is not affected. It is classified as a brown rot, which primarily degrades cellulose in tree stands. Wood impacted by this fungus may become more brittle and prone to breakage in high winds, and cannot be used for pulp production.[4] This species requires exposed wood of wounds for entry, and continue their decay after the tree dies.

The fruiting bodies of the fungus disperse airborne spores, but the actual degradation of the wood is by the threadlike vegetative part of the fungus inside the trees. The fungi can occur anywhere on roots or the stem, but is most common low on the bole, where frequent wounds promote infection.[5]

Ecology[edit]

This stem decay fungi is found on live conifer trees in southeast Alaska such as Western hemlock, Mountain hemlock, White/Lutz spruce, and Sitka spruce. The trees stem decay is caused by the fungi when it invades and colonizes in the wood of living trees and decomposes the wood before the tree is dead. This brown rot fungus degrades only cellulose, leaving the other primary constituents of wood, lignin, as a considerably less dense but fairly stable residual structure that is suitable for excavation by woodpeckers.[6]

This fungi is normally found on dead conifers, but can also be observed growing on large stem wounds, broken tops, and dead tissue of live trees. In mature forests, these stem decay fungi cause enormous annual wood volume loss of Alaska’s major tree species. Approximately one-third of the old-growth timber board foot volume in Southeast Alaska is defective, largely due to decay from this type of fungi. Conversely, there is very little decay in young-growth stands unless there is prevalent wounding from commercial thinning activities, wind damage, or animal feeding. By predisposing large old trees to bole breakage and windthrow, stem decays serve as important small-scale disturbance regimes in these temperate rainforest ecosystems where fire and other large-scale disturbances are uncommon. [7]

This stem decay creates canopy gaps, influence stand structure and succession, increase biodiversity, and enhance wildlife habitat. The fungus also preforms essential nutrient cycling functions in these forests by decomposing stems, branches, roots, and boles of dead trees. Cavities created by the fungus in standing trees provide crucial habitat for many wildlife species including bears, voles, squirrels, and a number of bird species. The lack of disturbance in these areas and longevity of individual trees allows ample time for this slow-growing decay fungus to cause significant decay. There is a growing interest in acquiring methods to promote earlier development of stem decays in second-growth stands to achieve wildlife and other non-timber objectives.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ FS-R10-FHP. 2014. Forest Health Conditions in Alaska 2013. Anchorage, Alaska. USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region. Publication R10-PR-035.81 PAGES 40-42.
  2. ^ FS-R10-FHP. 2014. Mushrooms of the National Forests in Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska. USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region. Publication R10-RG-209. PAGES 30 & 31.
  3. ^ FS-R10-FHP. 2014. Mushrooms of the National Forests in Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska. USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region. Publication R10-RG-209. PAGES 30 & 31.
  4. ^ FS-R10-FHP. 2014. Forest Health Conditions in Alaska 2013. Anchorage, Alaska. USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region. Publication R10-PR-035.81 PAGES 40-42.
  5. ^ FS-R10-FHp. 2014. Managing Heart Rot in Live Trees for Wildlife Habitat in Young-Growth Forests of Coastal Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska. USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region. Publication PNW-GTR-890. PAGES 4 – 9.
  6. ^ FS-R10-FHp. 2014. Managing Heart Rot in Live Trees for Wildlife Habitat in Young-Growth Forests of Coastal Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska. USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region. Publication PNW-GTR-890. PAGES 4 – 9.
  7. ^ FS-R10-FHP. 2014. Forest Health Conditions in Alaska 2013. Anchorage, Alaska. USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region. Publication R10-PR-035.81 PAGES 40-42.
  8. ^ FS-R10-FHP. 2014. Forest Health Conditions in Alaska 2013. Anchorage, Alaska. USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region. Publication R10-PR-035.81 PAGES 40-42.

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