Please click TomVolkFungi. Since all we had at my house was natural gas heat, I remember once getting charcoal briquettes from the grill in my stocking One of the British names, "cramp balls," is not so obvious. That name is thought to have arisen from the widespread belief that carrying this fungus in your pockets would prevent or relieve leg cramps.

Author:Mooguzahn Kall
Language:English (Spanish)
Published (Last):15 June 2015
PDF File Size:7.58 Mb
ePub File Size:14.1 Mb
Price:Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]

They are also referred to as Cramp Balls because carrying them was thought to cure attacks of cramps. These hard, inedible fungi appear most often on ash and beech wood but occasionally on other hardwood trees. The pinkish-brown specimens shown above are young and still growing, and during this asexual stage they develop over a long period and release pallid, almost colourless spores known as conidiospores or simply as conidia , which are pinkish white when seen in mass.

Once fully grown the fruitbodies turn black, like those in the picture above. At this mature stage the surface becomes dotted with tiny bumps that are the openings of perithecia, the spore-producing structures located just below the surface.

Ascospores, which unlike the pallid conidiospores are jet black, are ejected from these openings in vast numbers, soon covering the surface of the fruitbody and darkening the substrate wood creating in effect a natural spore print for some distance around it. The perithecia are 0. The necks of the perithecia are visible in the picture above; their separation is very variable.

Beneath each of these tiny surface bumps these is an asci-lined flask where ascospores develop. Distribution Common and widespread in Britain and Ireland and found throughout most of mainland Europe, this saprobic fungus occurs also in North America, Australia and in many other temperate countries.

Taxonomic history Described in by British mycologist James Bolton c. Daldinia concentrica is the type species of its genus. Daldinia concentrica has several synonyms including Fungus fraxineus Ray, Sphaeria fraxinea With. Etymology Inside the fruitbody there are concentric silver-grey and black layers pictured below , from which comes the the specific epithet concentrica.

Above: When you make a spore print of an agaricoid mushroom or of a bolete, the spores are deposited directly beneath the fertile surface - the gills or the pores. With flask fungi such as Daldinia concentrica the spores are ejected from asci buried within the stroma fruitbody and create a spore print extending outwards from the edge of the stroma.

In this instance the spores have left a clearly visible black stain up to 3cm wide. Identification guide Fruitbody Individual fruitbodies formally referred to as stroma of Daldinia concentrica are typically 2 to 8cm across, growing over several seasons hence the growth rings , but several may merge to form a much larger compound outgrowth.

Initially brown and dense, the fruitbodies soon turn black, dry out and become less dense. There is no stipe; the fruitbody is attached to the host wood by a broad, flat area underneath the cushion-shaped fruitbody. The spore-bearing surface is a series of tiny chambers called perithecia, which are embedded within the outside of the fruitbody, and ejected spores leave a slightly darker area of wood around the fungus.

Large stroma are therefore much older than small ones. Perithecia The picture on the left is a greatly magnified view of a perithecium, the dark chamber within which the asci form and spores are produced. As with other ascomycete fungi there are infertile paraphyses separating the asci. Once the spores inside an ascus have reached maturity, the ascus expands lengthways,guided by the surrounding paraphyses, until its tip extends outside the neck of the perithecium; then water pressure built up inside the ascus bursts open the tip of the ascus and the ascospores are forcibly ejected.

The ascus shrivels leaving the opening clear for the next set of eight spores to be expelled. Asci Each ascus contains eight ascospores. Ascus of Daldinia concentrica X Ascospores are ejected, mainly it seems at night, from asci hidden within perithecia just below the black surface of the fruitbody.

In creating overnight spore prints I have found that some spore dust is clearly visible as far as 3cm or more from the edge of the stroma plural stromata ; however, in windless conditions a high proportion of the spores stick to one another and emerge from the necks of the perithecia in the form of contorted ropes, as seen on the left.

Spores emerging from Daldinia concentrica X.



As with other fungi the light spores are distributed globally and the fungi develop wherever conditions are suitable - it lives on dead and decaying wood, and is a common, widespread saprotroph. The fungus is ball-shaped, with a hard, friable, shiny black fruiting body 2 to 7 centimeters wide. It resembles a chunk of coal, which gives it several of its common names, including coal fungus and carbon balls. According to legend, King Alfred once hid out in a countryside homestead during war, and was put in charge of removing baking from the oven when it was done.



He fell asleep and the cakes burned. Many types of insects and other small animals make their home inside this species of fungus. It is also believed by some authorities that the alder wood wasp is involved in the dispersal of spores. During spring 2it can be found covered in a layer of sooty black spores ; these are released at night and can travel up to 2 cm away from the concentruca body from which they were discharged. Black ascospores are ejected from these openings in great numbers, covering the surface of the fruit body and nearby surfaces. Ash trees often shed their branches and by growing on these fallen branches, Daldinia concentrica helps them to rot away.


Daldinia concentrica

Its small, tough fruiting bodies are shaped more or less like a ball, and feature a crust-like, brown to black outer surface. When sliced open, the carbon-like flesh is concentrically zoned with alternating bands of whitish to grayish and black. Daldinia childiae appears on decaying logs, fruiting directly from the wood. Your North American field guide is likely to call the mushroom featured here "Daldinia concentrica," but the true Daldinia concentrica is a European species partial to the wood of European species of ash, and is either absent in North America or extremely rare. Its crusty outer surface releases purple pigments when ground up and soaked in KOH , while the crust of Daldinia childiae releases brown pigments. Thanks to Cecily Franklin for collecting, documenting, and preserving Daldinia childiae for study; her collection is deposited in The Herbarium of Michael Kuo. Description: Ecology: Saprobic on decaying hardwood logs and, infrequently, conifer logs; growing alone or gregariously, directly from the wood; spring through fall or over winter in warm climates —but the tough fruiting bodies often last over winter; widely distributed in North America, but especially common east of the Rocky Mountains.

Related Articles