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FPL 62 - Wound Parasites

The information accessed from this screen is based on the publication: Etheridge, D. E. 1973. Common Needle Diseases of Spruce in British Columbia. Forestry Canada, Forest Insect and Disease Survey, Forest Pest Leaflet No. 62 16p.

HaematoStereum sanguinolentum is now known as Stereum sanguinolentum.


Heartrotting (See also Pest Leaflet No. 55 (8)) and saprotting fungi that attack living trees through injuries are known as "wound parasites". Among the most common injuries that predispose trees to rot are those caused by man during logging operations, but animals, insects, climate and other disease organisms are also important causal agents. Some wound fungi are primary invaders that attack only fresh, exposed heartwood or sapwood; others are secondary, being favored by wood already colonized by microorganisms; while others attack slash or continue a saprophytic existence on dead trees or timber in service. Only a few wound parasites are capable of attacking living tissue.

Little, however, is known about the infection requirements of this group of fungi. Of the 38 species that have been reported from British Columbia as attacking living trees through injuries, about half can be differentiated by their mode of attack, and the specific infection court requirements of only three or four of these are known with certainty.

Among the most universally distributed and destructive wound parasites in British Columbia are the bleeding fungus (HaematoStereum sanguinolentum (Fr.) Pouzar), the annosus root fungus (Fomes annosus (Fr.) Karst.) and the red belt fungus (Fomes pinicola (Sw. ex Fr.) Cooke). All are commonly associated with mechanical injuries; but, in addition, F. pinicola frequently infects trees weakened or killed by fire or insects while F. annosus is a serious cause of root rot in native conifers. These three fungi are the only members of the group whose life histories have been sufficiently studied to describe in detail. The remaining species are tabulated according to common infection courts and preferred hosts in British Columbia. For additional information on these fungi and their relative importance in timber depletion, a list of literature sources is provided.


For more information, see the Wound Parasites Forest Pest Leaflet in the Canadian Forest Service bookstore.