Newtonia buchananii and its fungal decayers in natural stands

Authors: Niemelä, Tuomo & Mrema, Frank Anderson
Journal: Karstenia, Volume 42 (2002), Issue 2, pages 49-66.
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Key words: Basidiomycetes, Newtonia, Phellinus, decay, East Africa, polypores, Usambara Mts, wood-rotting fungi

Abstract: Newtonia buchananii (Baker) G. Gilbert & Boutique is a leguminous tree (Mimosaceae), an emergent in African moist forests, having its main distribution in southern central and eastern Africa. The characteristics and ecology of the tree are outlined. In natural forests the old, large N. buchananii individuals badly suffer of stem cracks and butt rot, caused by various fungi. In this paper decay-causing poroid Basidiomycetes (polypores) are dealt with. A new species, Phellinus newtoniaeNiemelä & Mrema, is described from material collected in the Mazumbai Forest Reserve, West Usambara Mts., and the Amani Forest Reserve, East Usambara Mts., Tanzania. It produces perennial, finally large basidiocarps in gaps between the buttresses of old, living Newtonia buchananii trees, being a serious butt-rot and trunk-rot causing pathogen of its host. It belongs to the P. rimosus (Berk.) Pilát complex which is taxonomically difficult; related taxa are compared, e.g., Phellinus lloydii (Cleland) G. Cunn., P. fastuosus (Lév.) Ryvarden, P. merrillii (Murrill) Ryvarden and P. swieteniae (Murrill) S. Herrera & Bondartseva. Ganoderma boninensePat., Fibroporia gossypium (Speg.) Parmasto and Phellinus sublaevigatus (Cleland & Rodway) P.K. Buchanan & Ryvarden are reported as new to East Africa. Twelve polypore species are dealt with, belonging to the genera Phellinus, Ganoderma, Fibroporia, Microporus and Perenniporia. Statistical data of the spore size variation is given for most species. The other fungal groups appearing on living Newtonia trees are briefly discussed.