The following are examples of fungi which we regularly encounter and are generally considered parasitic on trees:
Fistulina hepatica, Beef Steak Fungus
This fungus is generally found on old Oak and Sweet Chestnut. The bracket appears annually during the Summer months and degrades over the Autumn period.
It is a blood-red colour when fresh but fades to a brown with age. Our photo shows an older example. When fresh they are edible and good, hence the common name.
However they will decay the heartwood of infected trees causing a brown rot.
Armillaria mellea, Honey Fungus
This fungus has a fearsome reputation with gardeners and tree lovers alike.
The toadstools are often seen during the Autumn and sometimes in large quantity on and around the base or stumps of old trees.
This can be a real problem in a garden, although some sub-species are less aggressively pathogenic than others.
We have produced a longer news article in 2 parts on this complex disease:
Meripilus giganteus, Giant Polypore
This is another common fungus found through the Summer months and into the Autumn.
It can appear in large clusters usually around the buttress roots of Beech trees and sometimes some distance from the trunk.
This fungus produces a white rot in the roots and stem base which can often lead to windthrow.
Ganoderma Adspersum, Southern Bracket
This bracket fungus is fairly common and one of several Ganoderma species. It forms woody perennial brackets that can last for years usually around the base and stems of broadleafed trees.
Host species include Beech, Horse Chestnut, Birch, Eucalyptus, Rowan and others. This fungus can lead to windthrow through a white rot in the stem base and buttress area.
Another perennial bracket fungus usually found very close to ground level. It can develop into huge plates of at least 50 cm across that sometimes have ground vegetation growing through them so making them surprisingly hard to spot.
It will colonise many broadleaved species including Ash, Beech, Robinia and Poplar and can lead to windthrow due to an intense white rot.
Fomes fomentarius, Tinder or Hoof Fungus
This is a perennial hard and woody bracket that can be quite variable in shape and colour.
We generally only see this on the trunks of Beech trees. Prehistoric man and Ray Mears devotees use this fungus for tinder!
It digests both lignin and cellulose in the wood and can lead to stem failure.