Monday, June 29, 2009

Wood-degrading fungus thrives at Admiralty Park

Wood-degrading fungus thrives at Admiralty Park
The fungi seen in these pictures are known as polypores, says STOMPer Mangrove Man, who wishes to highlight the wood-degrading species to all nature enthusiasts.

The polyporus fungus grows on tree trunks and is commonly spotted on fallen tree trunks.

In an email, STOMPer Mangrove Man says:

"These pictures were taken at Admiralty Park.

"This fungus called the polyporus fungus is leathery, hard and woody. It has no stripes and grows bracket-like on tree trunks.

"The orange polypores are common on fallen tree trunks because of their ability to degrade wood.

"This mangrove tree (Bruguiera cylindrica) can reach a height of 20 m and has buttress roots. The hypocotyl is about 15 cm long, like a green cigarette and slightly curved.

"The trunk of the tree is used for firewood and timber."

Wood-degrading fungus thrives at Admiralty Park

Based on my copy of A Guide to Tropical Fungi, it appears that the fungus in these photos belong to the genus Polyporella, although a bit of Googling suggests that the more accurate name for these bracket fungi may be Pycnoporus instead.

Pycnoporus cinnabarinus, Florida;
(Photo by pellaea)

There's an error in the description above; it's supposed to be "It has no stipes", which is a different matter from "It has no stripes". The stipe is the stem or stalk-like structure supporting the cap of a mushroom.

Bracket fungi are often found growing on decaying logs, and play an important role in helping to break down rotting wood, and facilitating the recycling of nutrients. However, some species are capable of becoming parasites, infecting living trees and causing the death of their host.

The famous lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) used in traditional Chinese medicine is a type of bracket fungus.

It would have been better if the person who submitted this to STOMP had provided a picture of a mangrove hypocotyl and explained what it was as well. I'm sure most of the people who read this post have no idea what a hypocotyl is.

Here's a photo of a bakau putih (Bruguiera cylindrica) propagule. The hypocotyl is the long green part that has already sprouted from the seed.

Bakau putih propagule, Pulau Ubin;
(Photo by Chay Hoon)