Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus species complex)

Mature fruiting bodies of Laetiporus sulphureus species complex. Gainesville, Florida. Credits: Curtis Peyer

Species in the Laetiporus sulphureus species complex, also known as “chicken of the woods” mushrooms, are wood-decay fungi that cause brown rot within the heartwood of their tree hosts. The common name “chicken of the woods” is given to some species in this group because they are tasty edible mushrooms. Several Laetiporus species have been harvested to use as food colorants, to dye natural products such as wool, and for human consumption. This new 4-page publication of the UF/IFAS Plant Pathology Department, written by Brianna Benitez, Claudia A. Paez, Matthew E. Smith, and Jason A. Smith, describes these fungi as well as their ecology, management, and potential edibility.

Biscogniauxia (Hypoxylon) Canker or Dieback in Trees

Biscogniauxia canker or dieback is a common contributor to poor health and decay in a wide range of tree species growing in many different habitats, such as forests, parks, green spaces, and urban areas, in Florida. This disease is caused by several species of fungi in the genus Biscogniauxia (formerly Hypoxylon). These pathogens do not typically harm healthy and vigorous trees, but once they infect trees under stress from drought, root disease, soil compaction, construction damage or other causes, they can quickly colonize the tree. Once a tree is infected and fruiting structures of the fungus are evident, the tree is not likely to survive, especially if the infection is in the trunk. This 3-page fact sheet written by Claudia Paez and Jason Smith and published by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation explains the pathogen’s biology and lists signs and symptoms as well as control measures and ways to keep trees healthy to resist infection.