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Hymenochaete corrugata  (Fr.) Lév. - Glue Crust

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Polyporales - Family: Hymenochaetaceae

Hymenochaete corrugata, Glue Crust fungus

This easily-overlooked crust fungus gets its name from its habit of migrating from one tree to another by gluing together twigs or small branches that are in contact. Although common in Britain, this crust fungus raises excitement when it is parasitised by the rare Hazel Gloves Hypocreopsis rhododendri.

Distribution

Widespread but localised in Britain and Ireland, Glue Crust is also fairly common across much of mainland Europe and parts of North America.

Glue Fungus, Hymenochaete corrugata on Hazel

Taxonomic history

When, in 1815, Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries described this crust fungus he named it Thelephora corrugata. The currently-accepted scientific name dates from an 1846 publication by French mycologist Joseph-Henri Léveillé (1796 - 1870).

Synonyms of Hymenochaete corrugata include Thelephora corrugata Fr., Corticium corrugatum (Fr.) Fr., Stereum corrugatum (Fr.) Quél., Hymenochaete agglutinans Ellis, Hymenochaete croceoferruginea Massee, and Hymenochaete corrugata f. conglutinans Bourdot & Galzin. Since its publication in 2012 some authorities have adopted a new genus, in which the Glue Crust fungus becomes Pseudochaete corrugata (Fr.) S. H. He & Y. C. Dai. This species has recently (2019) been reclassified as Hydnoporia corrugata (Fr.) K.H. Larss. & Spirin and this may become its generally accepted name.

Glue Crust fungus on a broken Hazel branch

Etymology

Hymenochaete, the genus name, comes from hymen- a prefix referring to the fertile membrane (the crust surface), and -chaete from the Greek noun chaite meaning long hair and probably therefore referring to the fine hairs (settae) on the upper surfaces of fungi in this group.

The specific epithet corrugata means wrinkled or corrugated and refers to the often undulating and sometimes warty surface of this crust fungus.

Identification guide

Hymenochaete rubiginosa, closeup of fertile surface

Outer (fertile) surface

Fruitbodies form resupinate crusts 0.1 - 0.2mm thick, firmly attached to the substrate. The pale grey to brownish fertile surface is tinged lilac; it is uneven (corrugated) but seems fairly smooth until you look at it with a hand lens; then very fine surface hairs (settae) are visible. The mycelium spreads along twigs, sometimes contacting another touching twig and 'gluing' the two together.

Brown but sometimes with a blackish skin, with age the fruitbodies tend to develop surface cracks rather like miniature crazy paving or dried mud at the bottom of a lake during severe drought.

 

Spores

Ellipsoidal, smooth, 4.5-6 x 1.5-2μm; inamyloid.

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

On living and dead broadleaf deciduous trees and shrubs, particularly hazel but also willows and occasionally other hardwoods.

Season

Perennial crusts persist throughout the year, but the growing season in Britain and Ireland is sumer and autumn.

Culinary Notes

Glue Crust Hymenochaete corrugata is thin, tough and leathery, and so it can have no culinary value.

Reference Sources

Mattheck, C., and Weber, K. Manual of Wood Decays in Trees. Arboricultural Association 2003.

Pat O'Reilly, Fascinated by Fungi, 2011.

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Richard Shotbolt.

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