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Myrtle Beech Fungus Gall

Cyttaria Gunnii


These irregular knobbly galls were caused by a parasitic fungus. The galls varied in size from 30 to 100 mm growing on branches and some as low as close to the tree base. Most galls were a reddish orange with rough flakey surfaces and small circular scarring where the fruiting bodies had emerged when in season.


Spotted on a semi-healthy Southern Beech tree ( Myrtle Beech - Nothofagus cuninghamii), in a cool temperate rainforest with huge southern beech trees and Eucalypts.
This fungus is only associated with myrtle beech which is endemic to Southern Australia. It occurs therefore only in Victoria and Tasmania.


What I missed spotting, to my great disappointment, were the fruiting bodies that emerge from these galls. They are said to be round and golf ball sized, with a peach- coloured membranous covering. Under the covering the orange body shows a network of concavities. They look like bunches of grapes of varying sizes but as they are orange in colour, they are commonly referred to as beech orange. Please see reference for these intriguing fungal fruits.
I will be focusing on spotting these later in the year.
This is a parasitic fungus but does not spread through the tree. The fruiting bodies produce black spores that affect suitable neighbouring trees .
Family: Cyttariaceae

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Tukup a year ago

Yes it does. And I am here in Ecuador for 2 months yet, but googling Beech tree forests in Ecuador, I come up with zip, not that I would have time to travel to them if they do exist. I'm pretty sure they don't grow out here in the rainforest. Be sure to set your alarm for whatever date they do their thing. I'll just wait and see your pictures.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway a year ago

Haha ... I get what you mean. I have been mistaken for a Gondwanan species at times..definitely feel that way.
Now, you could travel to either S.America or come here down under to see these. I really hope we get to see them.
Their S.American story sounds interesting, doesn't it ?

Tukup a year ago

Thanks for the chuckle. I was thinking, "Leuba is Gondwanan?" I wonder what that means in Australian. 😊 Then I finally got the stress on the right words and it made sense. Thanks for the link too. That was interesting. I hope you catch them at their best, and then post the pictures.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway a year ago

Thanks Tukup. I believe being Gondwanan in origin, Cyttaria is found only in South America - Andean-Patagonian forests. They fruit annually and over here in Australia, between November and January. I assume it's the same in S.America in the beech forests. I can't wait for Summer to catch them fruiting...

Have a read of this for some interesting information

Tukup a year ago

Great series Leuba, and great notes too. Thanks for the good link. Yeah, I think those look intriguing enough that I would try to get out and catch them when the fruiting bodies are emerging. Do you when they do this and for how long of a window you will have to catch them?

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway a year ago

It is bizarre but aren't the "oranges" great. We did a two-hour drive to see if we find any but sadly a little late for any fruiting bodies, on this one anyway. Have to get there between November and January.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

That's a bizarre spotting, Leuba. Wonderful photos and notes. I hope you get to see the fruit one day. The reference photos are amazing. Awesome!

Leuba Ridgway
Spotted by
Leuba Ridgway

Tarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Spotted on Jan 18, 2021
Submitted on Jan 24, 2021

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