Good morning team. This week's mushroom is a mouthful: Biscogniauxia atropunctata. Phonetically it sounds like Bis-cog-nox-eeya. Carlos pointed this mushroom out to me on 1/14/2020 and it is growing on the downed limb of a red oak just north of balance rock. If my memory serves me correctly the limb of the tree came down in the summer of 2019 and the Biscogniauxia is currently competing with several other mushrooms for that sweet, sweet lignin and cellulose found in the red oak's plant cell walls. B. atropunctata is found in Eastern North America and in parts of Europe. It causes Biscogniauxia canker (formerly known as hypoxylon canker - name after the fungus's old genus) which is apparently the most common arboreal disease in the country - I'll defer to the tree crew because they probably have more insight here. It can infect a variety of hardwoods but is most commonly found in red oaks which is the case here. Typically, the tree's natural defenses can control the fungus but an injury such as the one that resulted in the downed limb gives the fungus the ability to infect the tree. B. atropunctata does best in hot, dry conditions (of which we've had quite a few significant stretches throughout the past few years), and we'll certainly expect to see more of these drought periods with the warming climate. B. atropunctata created a mat of mycelium (stroma) underneath the bark of this downed limb to the point where it dislodged the bark, revealing the stroma, and then asexually produced spores. There is some minute color and texture change after the spores are released but for the most part it has a chalky whitish/grey appearance.
I got a lot of my information for this Mushroom Monday from the website: https://www.fungusfactfriday.com/082-biscogniauxia-atropunctata/. They do a much deeper dive so if you're still curious you can continue reading there. I also signed up for their newsletter. It's cool to see someone riding the same fungal wave just on a different day of the week.
Have a spectacular week,