January 25, 2021
Good morning team,
This week’s mushroom is Peniophora albobadia. It is commonly known as giraffe spots. This is a fairly common crust fungus in the park and this specimen was found on a fallen cherry branch in tupelo meadow on 12/2/2020. There isn’t too much information available on this specific Peniophora specie, but the most notable feature is that it is pathogenic (causes disease) to stone fruits – peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, and so on. I’ve been trying to rack my brain and comprehend that if something is pathogenic, does that also mean it has to be parasitic? An organism can be parasitic without being pathogenic, but can an organism be pathogenic but not be parasitic? It may be one of those “all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares” situations. Reach out if you have any intel.
Per iNaturalist, P. albobadia is commonly found in North America – although absent in the Rockies – and is most frequently seen during the winter months. The other fun fact I have about this fungus is that the common name “giraffe spots” was created by a woman in the New York Mycological Society. I wish I knew her name so I could give her full credit, but at least her legend lives on in lore.
Have a great week and hopefully we get some good snow,
PS. There are some sweet lichens in the second and third pictures – slightly blurry because of my wonky phone camera – but it’d be cool if someone tried to ID them.