Cyttaria gunnii

Bryant is again the author of today’s entry:

Thank you to Ken Beath (aka kjbeath@Flickr) for today’s image of Cyttaria gunnii (commonly known as beech orange), the next subject on the list for this series on autumn fungi. Cyttaria gunnii is an ascomycete in the family Cyttariaceae. It is a caulicolous (stem parasite) fungi, restricted to species of Nothofagus, specifically Nothofagus cunninghamii, Nothofagus fusca, and Nothofagus menziesii. The species is distributed throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania wherever host trees are also found. The fruiting bodies, which grow in clusters, are usually around 2cm in diameter. The yellow/orange cup-shaped cavities form upon maturity to release wind-dispersed spores.

If infected by Cyttaria gunnii, spherical galls are formed on the host tree. These galls remain on the branch or stem for its lifetime and provide the location for perennial fruiting every spring. Formation of the galls starts with spores germinating and subsequently penetrating the bark tissue of a nearby host, releasing chemicals as the fungal hyphae grows. These chemicals cause the unregulated proliferation of cells in the tree, much like a tumor.

Cyttaria gunnii is considered to be edible, and has been recorded as being used for food by Australian Aboriginals. It is reported to have a pleasant but slightly bland taste (again, consumption is not recommended without confirming identification with an expert).

Cyttaria gunnii

5 responses to “Cyttaria gunnii”

  1. elizabeth a airhart

    thank you so many forms and colors to look at thank you
    garden design magazine has pictures and writeing called
    strange beauty and very handsome pictures about mushrooms
    by eugenia bone and photos by lynn karlin winter 2012
    and website thank you for your writeings and oictures

  2. Judy Sinclair

    How delightful!! I am so pleased to see these photos of various mushrooms (fungi). Here on Vancouver Island we are seeing very little activity this October, due to an overlong dry spell. We now have the rains but I haven’t had an opportunity to get out with a camera and am hoping to see at least a few specimens before the frost begins. Beautiful photo, thank you!!

  3. Sara

    Who needs to watch TV? Awesome monster mushroom for Halloween! (for us in the USA) – Steve Speilberg, your next alien life form is calling!

  4. Sheila

    Stunning image.
    They look like orange golf balls, illuminated from inside.
    Interesting write up.
    As always…. many thanks for Botany Photo of the Day.

  5. Honora Renwick

    Cyttaria was consumed as a staple in Tierra Del Fuego. I believe it was unknown as such to the Maori in New Zealand but I’ll check on that.

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