Bracket Fungi

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Amazing Kingdom Of Fungi Addendum

The Bracket Fungi

Bracket fungi include the tough, woody, shelf-like growths on the trunks of dead trees. Some species are serious parasites of living trees. The upper side often shows concentric striations that represent successive years of growth. Ages of 50-70 years have been recorded for some species. The lower surface is composed of numerous minute pores through which astronomical numbers of spores are released. Some of the largest and thickest bracket fungi are called conks. Artist's conk of the Ganoderma applanatum group can be up to three feet (0.9 m) across and eight inches (20 cm) thick. According to David Arora (Mushrooms Demystified, 1986), large conks may liberate 30 billion spores a day for a period of six months. This is 5,000,000,000,000 or 5 trillion spores annually.

Conks of the genus Ganoderma

Varnished conk (Ganoderma lucidum), so named because of the shiny surface. This specimen was collected from the trunk of a willow (Salix).

A large specimen of varnished conk (Ganoderma lucidum) collected from the trunk of a willow (Salix). This specimen measured eleven inches (28 cm) across.

The underside of varnished conk (Ganoderma lucidum) is whitish-yellow when fresh, but turns brown with age.

Close-up view of the underside of varnished conk (Ganoderma lucidum) showing numerous spore-bearing pores. The porous surface turns brown when written on.


A small, polyporous fungus related to conks. Like the conks, the fruiting body is tough and woody. The underside is composed of numerous spore-bearing tubes or canals. This particular fungus was growing on a 2 x 8 ft. board of an outdoor patio in San Diego County, California. The mycelium permeated the hollow dead cells of the board, extracting nutrients from the cell walls. Fungi that digest the cellulose and leave the lignin behind are called "carbonizing decays" or "brown rots" because they make the wood dry, brittle and darker than the original wood. Fungi that digest cellulose and lignin are called "delignifying decays" or "white rots" because they make the wood soft, spongy and whiter than the original wood. In this case, the board contained hollowed out pockets lined with mycelial threads. Fungal infections such as this are often called "dry rots," and together with termites, cause considerable damage to houses in southern California. Boards infested with dry root need to be replaced because they have lost their structural integrity.

This portion of a board once formed the ceiling of a patio in San Diego County. The wood contains hollowed out pockets lined with mycelial threads from a fungus related to conks. Fungal infections such as this are often called "dry rots," and together with termites, cause considerable damage to houses in southern California. Boards infested with dry root need to be replaced because they have lost their structural integrity. In the forest, rot fungi are very beneficial because they decompose stumps and fallen dead trees, thus returning their massive remains back to the soil. Without decay fungi, logs and fallen trees would litter the forest for countless centuries.


Polyporaceae: Phaeolus schweinitzii? (Bracket Fungus)


Bright Yellow Bracket (Shelf) Fungus On Base Of Eucalyptus globulus.

Could this be a young Laetiporus gilbertsonii?


Turkey Tail Mushroom In My Backyard In San Marcos, CA

Turkey tail mushroom (Tramates versicolor) and tuberous sword fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia) in my backyard. This fungus is used in Chinese herbal medicine to boost the immune system and for its anti-tumor properties.

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