We’ll be starting a series from Katherine either tomorrow or Monday on “white-flowered medicinal plants”. That series will, for the most part, conclude her contributions as a work-study student. Today’s article, though, is written by Bryant Deroy, who is joining us as a work-study student over the summer (funded by your many kind contributions). Bryant writes:
Information on Coccomyces dentatus is extremely hard to come by and some sleuthing was required to dig up the details on this species of fungus. Coccomyces are a genus of foliicolous fungi, meaning that they colonize the leaves of vascular plants. Coccomyces dentatus can be found on the dead and decaying foliage of a number of other species including Gaultheria shallon, Arbutus menzeisii, other Berberis spp., Castanea spp., Quercus spp., and Rhododendron spp. among many others.
The black spots are hexagonally-shaped ascocarps made up of six triangular “flaps” that open upon maturity to allow the fertile spores within to be released. Richard has some close-up photos of this process. The borders that form the mosaic patterns occur where two mycelia contact each other and are sexually incompatible. The distribution of this species is widespread, although it appears to be most prominent in temperate zones. The staining and mosaic patterns vary greatly, this example being the most visually stunning that I have come across.