Thursday 30 August 2007

#22 Schizophyllum commune

Schizophyllum commune has the common name Splitgill, and is from family Schizophyllaceae. Pronunciation is Skitzo-fill-um commune-ay. It is a common fungus with recordings in all states of Australia, and around the world.

Hairy fan-shaped Splitgill fungi attached to fallen twigs

Stalkless fruiting bodies are fan-shaped or of irregular shape, up to 4cm wide, and attached to wood in a similar fashion to leathery shelf fungi. The upper surface is dry, covered in short dense hairs, and can be white, beige, light tan or grey. Caps are soft and pliant, but tough.

The fertile under-surface is composed of beige gill-like 'folds' that are split lengthwise, hense the common name of Splitgill. Spore print is white.

Note the two tiny (7mm) new fruit bodies with inrolled hairy rim and even circular shape. As they mature, the edges will become irregular to form fan or shell shapes.

Schizophyllum commune grows in scattered groups or massed overlapping tiers on dead wood of exotic and native trees and shrubs.
It is important to note that this fungus should not be smelled, as it is possible that Splitgill spores may be pathogenic and cause the disease basidioneuromycosis.

Edit to note: I have observed this fungus rehydrating from dry shrivelled fungi to fresh new-looking fungi after rain. 

My sightings of Schizophyllum commune
[This will be updated with more sightings]
Hunter Region Botanic Gardens - Heatherbrae - on fallen twigs and branches, Jul, Aug, Oct, Nov, Jul 10, Jun 2011
Barrington Tops National Park - rainforest on fallen twigs, Sep, Nov.
Hunter Valley - on fallen twigs and branches in woodland - Jul, Oct, Nov.
Baradine (NW NSW, residential garden on stump) - all year 2011, 2012.


Anonymous said...

A fine rendition of an intriguing little fungus that can often look so shrivelled up.

Our fungi group in Melbourne strictly adheres to warnings to not breath in the spores, because it is implicated in that disease that you mention.

This is the only macrofungus that I can recall that's implicated in human disease, except maybe one of the Coprinus species.

Gaye said...

hi elfram,

yes, upon first sight of the upper surface, they often appear shrivelled with age. I think the fertile surface is particularly attractive with the 'gills' radiating from a central point.

I've had many more sightings of this common little fungus, but have failed to record when and where.


WA said...

Very informative Gaye, I had not realised fungi could be so debilitating. Reminds self not to smell them in future.

I have come across this species in Esperance WA, where they had a shrivelled appearance but were quite firm to touch and could obviously persist for some time.

Great photos too by the way making it a delight to read.


Gaye said...

hi Westy,

as far as I am aware, these fungi, like many others, will rehydrate in the rain. I also understand that Schizophyllum commune is amongst the most common and widespread fungi in the world.