Rare fungus that looks like black spots T

Concededly it is inconspicuous, however its discovery made many people feel excited. Very rare fungi species Metacoleroa dickiei has been discovered in Piska Forest.

Concededly it is inconspicuous, however its discovery made many people feel excited. Very rare fungi species Metacoleroa dickiei has been discovered in Piska Forest.

Black spots and dots on small leaves of twinflower (Linnaea borealis), indicating fungi resettlement, were noticed during the monitoring of this plant species, which has been conducted since several years within the area of Strzałowo Forest District (RDSF in Olsztyn).

After taking pictures, examining fungus under the microscope and scrutinizing specialist literature, the author of information came to a conclusion that this may be fungus in Ascomycota division called Metacoleroa dickiei, which has not been recorded in Poland since 1908. The confirmation of fungus presence is the second discovery of this species in the history of Poland.

Species that was found in Strzałków doesn’t have a Polish name and in accordance with taxonomic classification is ranked into fungi group commonly named rust fungi. It was discovered for the first time in Poland at the beginning of XX century near Jelenia Góra by German mycologist Dr. Joseph Schroeter.

Metacoleroa dickiei is a fungus closely connected with twinflower which is its sole host. Twinflower, on the other hand, is a decumbentchamaephyte in the honeysuckle family with evergreen and small leaves. It flowers from May until August, and its small delicate lilac flowers are paired and grow on slender and hirsute stems. It preferably grows in coniferous forest and is considered as a glacial relict. Worth mentioning is the fact that it was a favorite plant of Swedish botanist named Carl Linnaeus, who created the system of biological organisms classification in XVIII century. Linnaea is one of the few kinds of plants or animals to be named after botanist.

In Poland twinflower occurs on about 150 stands, most frequently in northern part and in the mountains. Throughout Poland runs its southern range border. Currently it is partially protected, however, several years ago it was under strict protection.

Unfortunately, nationwide monitoring of this species is not conducted in Poland, therefore its actual number and population trends can’t be accurately estimated.

The presence of twinflower has been confirmed on two stands within the area of Strzałowo Forest District. On the other hand the presence of Metacoleroa dickiei fungus within those stands acknowledges that its host, the twinflower has been present in the Strzałowo Forest District for a long time.

Two above mentioned stands are located in 30 year old pine stand. It means that exactly three decades ago the clearcutting took place there. Next, this place has been plough and new forest generation has been planted.

Regardless of such radical changes that were introduced there, twinflower has survived and probably has been reborn from seeds, which were located in soil. The fungus Metacoleroa dickiei also didn’t become extinct.

Plants, which grew from seeds located in soil is just one of the scenarios. Seeds could be also transferred by animals from different stand. For example from neighboring forest division  located 50 metres further, where also occur two stands of twinflower (in this division there are 55 year old pines).

Described stands are located in so called productive forests, and forest management conducted there didn’t cause the extinction of the rare fungus Metacoleroa dickiei and its host twinflower.