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