|Most fungi are not parasites, and very few types can harm trees. Most are actually beneficial. There are exceptions, however, and some fungi, such as bracket fungi, can be found growing in living trees. Instead of growing strands through the soil, they grow under the bark of the tree, taking nutrients from the host. When these fungi produce mushrooms, they grow out of the tree trunk. Spores from these mushroom spread to other trees and find their way inside through woodpecker holes and other damaged areas. Another example of harmful fungi is the group of closely related species called "honey mushrooms", which can damage living trees. This fungus causes live bark and tree roots to rot, and the honey mushrooms are therefore also known as "root rot fungus".|
Bracket fungus. Photo by Maya Walters.
[seeds] [woodpeckers] [roots & leaves]
view the condensed version of the fungi article for faster printing/reading
return to the forest life article