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The P&PDL Picture of the Week
for 30 September 2002

Sulfur Shelf

Carrie Lapaire, Lab Technician, Purdue University

Sulfur shelf (Laetiporus sulphureus) can be commonly found this time of year in Indiana, often growing on cherry trees. Dr. Marcus Scholler, Curator of the Arthur and Kriebel Herbaria, writes: "This wonderful yellow to orange fungus is called sulfur shelf. The fungus lives as a saprophyte on wood or as a weak parasite on old/diseased living deciduous or coniferous trees. Besides their color, fruiting bodies are characterized by their large, soft and stalkless brackets which are arranged in overlapping rosettes. Sulfur shelf belongs to the pore family forming small pores on the underside. Unlike other members of the family, fruiting bodies are annuals. Therefore they have to grow very fast to reach their typical size. As they grow older, the fruiting bodies turn whitish and brittle."

Click on the small image to view a larger image.

L. sulphurea on dying cherry tree
Maturing sulfur shelf  

Several L. sulphurea growing on a dying cherry tree in
Lebanon, IN

A maturing sulfur shelf,
measuring 9 inches across


Jack-O-Lantern Fungus

Gail Ruhl, Senior Plant Disease Diagnostician, Interim P&PDL Director

The poisonous Jack-O’Lantern fungus, Omphalotus olearius (formerly known as either Omphalotus illudens or Clitocybe illudens) is most often found growing in clusters at the base of old, rotting, hardwood tree stumps. Smaller groups may sometimes be found growing from buried roots.

It should be fairly obvious from the image where this fungus gets its common name – it is bright orange, like the pumpkin used to make Jack-O- Lanterns. However, another reason for the common name is not as obvious from this image. This fungus glows in the dark! When viewed at night, an eerie greenish luminescence may be seen emanating from the gills on the underside of this fungus. (Photos taken by Natalie Carroll)

clusters of Jack-O-Lantern fungi Jack-O-Lantern fungi on rotting roots
Clusters of Jack-O-Lantern fungi
at base of tree
(Photo by Natalie Carroll)
Smaller groups of Jack-O-Lantern fungi
on rotting roots
(Photo by Natalie Carroll)

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Last updated: 30 September 2002/amv
The Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University