Monday, March 12, 2012

Myco Monday: False Tinder Conk

False Tinder Conk pokes its nose through a Sunburst of Lichens
This picture shows the trunk of a living aspen (Populus tremuloides) hosting a diversity of ectocommensal Sunburst Lichens and a heart rot.
Xanthomendoza cf fallax
The lichens are members of the genera Xanthoria and/or Xanthomendoza - the latter recently removed from the former - and get their name for an obvious reason. The endoparasitic heart-rot fungus (Phellinus tremulae) is only showing its 'nose' or conk - a woody structure composed of an array of downward pointing tubes that release spores and an upper 'crust'. Presumably the False Tinder Conk is no good for making tinder, but it does make aspen poor neighbours - likely to break and fall on your head in a strong wind.

In Australia, whenever I asked about a 'conk', people would look at me like I'd just kicked a bucket. Apparently, its use for the fruiting bodies of woody polypores is a strictly North American thing. 'Conk' also is slang for a nose or sounds similar to a 'punch on the nose', but derives from  the Greek for a mussel shell (and our word 'conch'). Conks do bear a vague resemblance to both a nose and a mussel shell, and if one of these infested trees broke and landed on your head, the least of your worries would be being conked out.

1 comment:

  1. And don't forget the game of conkers, played by bashing horse-chestnuts together.