Daedalea quercina: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Daedalea quercina Mushroom
Daedalea quercina is an inedible fungus native to North America and Europe. It is found almost exclusively on oaks (the genus Quercus), hence the epithet quercina. Associated with brown rot in the wood of oaks, arborists need to be able to identify this and other types of wood decay fungi to assess urban trees for weakening.
Other names: Oak Mazegill, Maze-Gill Fungus.
Daedalea quercina Identification
Saprobic; growing alone or in small groups with fused caps on decaying oak wood (occasionally on the wood of other hardwoods); annual or perennial; causing a brown rot of the heartwood; widely distributed in North America, but rare west of the Mississippi.
4-20 cm; broadly convex to more or less flat; fan-shaped in outline; dry; smooth or finely fuzzy (generally smoother toward the margin); whitish when fresh, but grayish, brown, or black in age (often darker toward the point of attachment in specimens that are several years old).
Maze-like, with thick walls (about 1-3 mm wide); occasionally developing pore-like or gill-like areas; whitish when fresh, becoming dingy yellowish or pale tan; not bruising; tubes to 4 cm deep.
Whitish, or with age brownish; very tough.
Spore Print: White.
Daedalea quercina Uses
Fruit bodies of D. quercina have been used as a natural comb, employed for brushing down horses with tender skin. Gilbertson notes that in England, smoldering fruit bodies were used for anesthetizing bees.
This species has been investigated for application in bioremediation. The lignin-degrading enzyme laccase, isolated and purified from D. quercina, has shown use in biodegrading a variety of toxic dyes and pigments.
The compound quercinol (a chromene derivative), isolated from the oak mazegill, has anti-inflammatory activity, and inhibits the enzymes cyclooxygenase 2, xanthine oxidase, and horseradish peroxidase.
Daedalea quercina Taxonomy & Etymology
In 1753 Carl Linnaeus called the Oak Mazegill Agaricus quercinus; its current name comes from Christiaan Hendrik Persoon's 1801 publication.
Daedalea quercina is the type species of the genus Daedalea. This small genus, with fewer than ten species (most very rarely seen) recorded in Britain, was established by the pioneering South Africa-born mycologist Christiaan Hendrik Persoon in 1801.
Synonyms of Daedalea quercina include Agaricus quercinus L., Trametes hexagonoides Fr., Trametes quercina (L.) Pilát, Lenzites quercina (L.) P. Karst., and Daedalea quercina f. hexagonoides (Fr.) Bondartsev.
It is from its labyrinthine gill-like pores that this distinctive bracket fungus gets its generic scientific name. In Greek mythology, Daedalus constructed a labyrinth at Knossos for King Minos of Crete, and in that labyrinth lived the Minotaur - half-man, half-bull.
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