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Cyttaria darwinii

Cyttaria darwinii
Photo Information
Copyright: Lior Almagor (LiorAlmagor) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 14 W: 0 N: 90] (1266)
Genre: Fungi
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-12-13
Categories: Fungi
Camera: Nikon D200, Nikon DX AF-S 18-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 G ED
Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-11-13 1:03
Viewed: 4208
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Subdivision: Pezizomycotina
Class: Leotiomycetes
Order: Cyttariales
Family: Cyttariaceae
Genus: Cyttaria
Species: Cyttaria darwinii
Cyttaria darwinii (Darwin's fungus)and in Spanish Pan de indio.
Darwin's fungus is a parasitic, golf ball-like fungus that was named in honour of Charles Darwin, who collected it in Tierra del Fuego during his voyage on HMS Beagle in 1832.
Darwin’s fungus belongs to a genus of highly evolved parasitic fungi that grow exclusively on species of Nothofagus (southern beech). Thus, all Cyttaria species naturally occur in the southern hemisphere. Darwin’s fungus occurs only in South America, and is not known from Nothofagus in New Zealand or Australia. It was collected by Charles Darwin in Tierra del Fuego during the voyage of HMS Beagle in 1832, and was named in his honour when the species was scientifically described by Rev. Miles J. Berkeley in 1842.
Fruitbodies (actually stromata encompassing numerous fertile areas) develop from spring to early summer on galls, usually conspicuous swellings of the host trunk and branches which may reach at least 30 cm across. Fruitbodies can be produced in large quantities, falling to the ground at maturity, usually after discharge of the spores. The galls that the species induces are perennial, but the fungus does not cause wood decay and, though sometimes killing heavily infected branches, appears to have no serious effects on the long-term health of the host tree. Whether this is a true parasite has not been established, and a possible mutualism (whereby there is also some benefit to the tree from the presence of the fungus) has been suggested.
The fruitbodies are a food source to other animals, and are frequently colonised by the larvae of fungus gnats (Mycetophilidae).
Cyttaria darwinii is known only from South America, including Argentina (it was originally found in Tierra del Fuego) and Chile. It grows on species of Nothofagus (southern beech), especially N. antarctica and N. pumilio, and occasionally on N. betuloides and N. dombeyi, to an altitude of 1700 m. Its distribution is restricted to that of its host trees, as it can only survive on Nothofagus species. Cyttaria species are not known to have become established with the host trees when these are grown elsewhere.

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HI Lior,
Very good POV of this fungi, I saw him at the Tierra del Fuego
TFS, Regards, Ferran

Interesting fungi. Good photo with excellent detail and clarity. regards yiannis

hello Lior
very interesting post with good details and lovely colours
thanks greeting lou

  • Great 
  • Herbal (4)
  • [2011-11-14 5:04]

Shalom Lior,
Nice marging. Lively picture. Comprehensive description.

amazing fungi, have a nice week, Ori

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