help - what is it ?

Geoff.Ridley at Geoff.Ridley at
Mon Jan 15 16:00:21 EST 2001

Hi Andrew

What you describe is reasonably common in New Zealand on the freshly cut
surfaces of woody-stems of flowering plants. Sap containing carbohydrates
and sugars bleeds from the cut surface and is invaded by mould fungi. Often
the mould is a Fusarium which gives the coloration you describe.  In a
specimen we examined in our lab the Fusarium was F.sambucinum on the cut
surface of Buddleia davidii. I don't know if it is always the same Fusarium
that invades the sap.

Dr Geoff Ridley

New Zealand Forest Research Institute
Private Bag 3020
New Zealand

e-mail: geoff.ridley at

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                           Subject:     help - what is it ? 
                    16/01/01 00:48                                              
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We live in Palmerston North (New Zealand) and this is approaching peak
Our climate is temperate, rarely freezes (ave about 13C, range 5 - 28 C)
with ave 900 mm rainfall.

We have a Weeping Willow tree (Salix sp) stump in the garden, tree was cut
down about 3 years ago. Few days ago I noticed a bright yellow "growth" on
the stump. It was about twice the size of a credit card and consisted of
a layer of small spheres  - half the size of a pin head. The growth
and was moist to touch. It appeared to have flowed over the uneven surface
of the stump.
We noticed it about 7 pm (sunset about 8:45 pm}. By the next morning it had
changed colour to dark red - brown. It appeared now to consist of tightly
packed, very fine stalks ( 5mm long) supporting the small sheres that were
now also deep red - brown. The growth glistened in the sunlght. It slowly
dried and darkened during the day. By the next day it had shrunk and
when pressed, its contents were powdery.

The night following the appearance of the first growth we saw another, same
colour and appearance but half a credit card in size. It followed the same
sort of changes in a similar time frame as the first.

We have photographed these growths and tried videoing the second, but don't
have good enough equipment for any useful records.

We guess its a reproductive phase of something - our garden has an
of fungi. Anybody got any suggestions and leads ??
Thanks: Andrew


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