Pathogenic Marasmioid Mushrooms

Research Issue

[photo:] Rhizomorpha corynephoraSeveral fungi that cause disease in trees and shrubs along the US Gulf Coast and Mexico are difficult to identify because they do not form the fruiting bodies that are typically used to identify mushrooms. These pathogenic (disease-causing) marasmioid fungi are in the class Agaricales.

Our Research

We have observed and collected specimens of marasmioid fungi that kill tree branches, shoots and leaves. These fungi are often thought to be saprotrophs because they also decompose the branches and leaves that they kill. We are using DNA sequencing and molecular phylogenies to identity and classify these pathogens. So far, we have identified and named several marasmioid fungi including Moniliophthora perniciosa, which attacks fast-growing cacao trees in tropical forests, and Crinipellis crinis-equi, the pan-tropical “horse-hair marasmius” that destroys tree branches and leaves.

Expected Outcomes

This research will resolve the relationships among many disease-causing mushrooms, leading to a better understanding of tropical and sub-tropical diseases of trees and shrubs.

Research Results

Nakasone, Karen K.; Hibbett, David S.; Goranova, Greta. 2009. Neocampanella, a new corticioid fungal genus, and a note on Dendrothele bispora. Botany 87:875-882.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Jessie Glaeser, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Research Plant Pathologist
  • Karen Nakasone, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Botanist (retired)
  • D. Jean Lodge, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Botanist (retired)

Research Partners

  • Last modified: May 6, 2019