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Brittle Cinder Fungi

The brittle cinder fungi, Vancouver Island, BC
The brittle cinder fungi, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

The brittle cinder fungi are a small encrusting growth that has a huge effect on any tree that it gets a hold on. It is parasitic, it kills trees and then lives on the deadwood.

In the summer, the growth is grey and flat surrounded by a white edge and the new spring growth is smaller with a shallower white edging, which gives it a bumpy look. The center of the growth is pale brown, not the more mature grey. It is growing around the edges of last year’s growth, which is by now blackened and crumbly.

These fungi grow all over the BC coastal region, look at places where damage has occurred in the past because this is usually where it starts to kill the tree. Not very choice but edible nonetheless.

Fungi that cause wood decay come in many shapes and sizes.  Their fruiting bodies are generally pretty easy to identify.  Mushrooms and conks along the base of a tree or attached to the trunk can be eye-catching.  One that causes decay is fungi is Brittle Cinder Fungi.  Brittle Cinder causes a soft rot that breaks down cellulose in growing wood.  This creates a decay that leaves wood feeling brittle, hence the name.

Brittle Cinder affects a vast array of tree species, including, infection usually occurs through wounds in the bark.  Brittle Cinder can result in significant strength loss, so careful consideration should be taken if this fungus is located on a tree. If this were to attack trees growing upwind from a structure, it could cause the trees to blow down in a wind storm.

Brittle Cinder is edible but not very choice, I would look for better eating mushrooms before eating this one.

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