Diatrype disciformis

Claire wrote today’s entry:

A big thanks to Stephen Buchan of Edinburgh, Scotland for this fascinating photo of Diatrype disciformis, a photo shared via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool.

I was excited to see a photo of an ascomycete – my favorite phylum of fungi! The Ascomycota include molds, morels, truffles, many crop diseases (such as ergot or Claviceps purpurea) and some yeasts (like baker’s yeast or Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The array of fascinating microscopic reproductive structures in this phylum of fungi are truly astounding and quite beautiful. If you are interested, I encourage looking into the diversity of these organisms. Ascomycetes are known for their ascospore producing structures, or asci.

Diatrype discoformis is from the Diatrypaceae, a family which includes somewhere between eight and thirteen genera (link suggests 8, Wikipedia lists 13). What you see in this photograph are a number of fruiting bodies that release ascospores–Mr. Buchan notes the pores on the surface of the small discs being the site of spore release. Diatrype disciformis is a saprobe commonly found all year round on dead deciduous trees, usually beech, in the forests of Europe. Thus, its common name is beech barkspot! Sadly, I must say that there isn’t too much information on this particular species, but I am glad to share a little knowledge on the Ascomycetes I gleaned from my fungi class last year at UBC with Mary Berbee. Hopefully, everyone can appreciate the bizarreness of Diatrype disciformis that Stephen Buchan captured and perhaps the fascinating lives of these commonly seen fungi.

Diatrype disciformis

10 responses to “Diatrype disciformis”

  1. Ken

    Excellent photo, and now I’ll go and find all my ascomycetes to submit to BPOTD.

  2. dori

    It looks like a canape for my next party. How much is it magnified?

  3. phillip

    amazing, most unusual, dori said canape, my first thought was “i want cookie”

  4. Jshane

    Very nice photo and good spotting. Ascomycetes are not that easy to find unless you really look for them.
    The Diatrypaceae have very interesting spores. They are yellow-golden and shaped like little “hot dogs”. They can be very numerous in the air after a rain.
    They also tend to clump, but mostly in groups of 2n, like 4’s 16’s 32’s.

  5. Eric in SF

    The rainy season is upon us here in Northern California and I’m quite excited to get out into the field again and see what interesting mushrooms I can find.
    This shot reminded me of a shot on Flickr from my friend Jacob/Morabeza79:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/morabeza79/5010749924/
    Very different subject matter but strangely similar.

  6. Tall Clover

    That is the oddest plant I’ve seen are you sure it isn’t named: Oreoarus Cookus Delisciosa

  7. LJTeller

    To me, these look like the eggs from the movie “Alien”, after their flaps opened and awaiting to burst at the opportune moment! 😉 Wow! Isn’t Nature remarkable?

  8. Chris Gradijan

    Interesting. I thought at first it was a recipe site showing chocolate cookie tarts. 🙂

  9. elizabeth a airhart

    the trees here in my part of florida are just full of all kinds
    of fungi all colors all sizes and in the grass after it rains
    tis interesting thank you

  10. Sheila from UK

    Stunning pic. Thank you Stephen.
    I have often seen this … but not at this magnification!
    It would have made a brilliant Stumper on UBC forums

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