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The World of Northern Evergreens$
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E. C. Pielou

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801477409

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801477409.001.0001

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Parasites on the Conifers

Parasites on the Conifers

(p.84) Chapter 8 Parasites on the Conifers
The World of Northern Evergreens

E. C. Pielou

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the wood-destroying fungi that cause wood to rot, decompose, or decay. These fungi are vital in the maintenance of living, growing forests. Without them, dead woody debris, fallen trees, logs, branches, and twigs would accumulate on the forest floor year after year without end. Decay fungi are an entirely different set of fungus species than those forming mycorrhizae. The fruiting body of most decay fungi is known as a conk or shelf fungus. A conk grows on the surface of its tree host, and its hyphae grow directly into the tree's tissues without touching the soil. Most of the decay fungi are polypores (family Polyporaceae), whose spores are liberated through numerous fine pores on the lower surface of the cap or shelf. Red-belted (also known as red-banded) polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola) attacks the majority of conifers. The fungus attacks dead trees, producing reddish brown, rotted wood that is divided first into neat cubes, which later crumble. Other conifer parasites are rust fungi and a genus of parasitic flowering plants called dwarf mistletoes.

Keywords:   conifer forests, decay fungi, parasites, coniferous trees, rusts, dwarf mistletoe, wood rot, wood decomposition, wood decay

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