Cerrena unicolor

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Cerrena unicolor
Cerrena unicolor 45687.jpg
Scientific classification
C. unicolor
Binomial name
Cerrena unicolor
(Bull.) Murrill (1903)
  • Boletus unicolor Bull. (1785)
  • Daedalea cinerea Fr. (1815)
  • Trametes unicolor (Bull.) Pilát (1939)

Cerrena unicolor, commonly known as the mossy maze polypore,[1] is a species of poroid fungus in the genus Cerrena (Family: Polyporaceae). This saprobic fungus causes white rot.


The fungus was originally described by French botanist Jean Bulliard in 1785 as Boletus unicolor,[2] when all pored fungi were typically assigned to genus Boletus. William Alphonso Murrill transferred it to Cerrena in 1903.[3] The fungus has acquired a long and extensive synonymy as it has been re-described under many different names, and been transferred to many polypore genera.[4]


Pore surface magnified

Cerrena unicolor has fruit bodies that are semicircular, wavy brackets up to 10 centimeters (4 in) wide.[1] Attached to the growing surface without a stalk (sessile), the upper surface is finely hairy, white to grayish brown in color, and in zonate—marked with zones or concentric bands of color. The surface is often green from algal growth. The pore surface is whitish in young specimens, later turning gray in maturity. The arrangement of the pores resembles a maze of slots; the tubes may extend to 4 mm deep.[5] The spore print is white.

When a female wasp of the genus Tremex bores into wood near these fungi, spores will become trapped in the wasp's ovipositor. [6][7] The spores are carried with the wasp's eggs and will eventually germinate where the eggs are placed. As the spores germinate and form a mycelium, the wasp's eggs will hatch, and the newly-born larvae eat the mycelium. The wasp species Tremex columba requires C. unicolor to grow, as without the interaction, the larvae will die. [7] However, after these eggs are laid, the parasitic wasp genus Megarhyssa will lay its own eggs within the eggs of the Tremex wasp. The larvae of Megarhyssa, when hatched, proceeds to eat the larvae of Tremex, helping control the population of Tremex. [7]

Spores are elliptical in shape, smooth, hyaline, inamyloid, and have dimensions of 5–7 by 2.5–4 µm.[5]


Cerrena unicolor causes canker rot and decay in paper birch (Betula papyrifera) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum).[8] The fungus has a wide distribution, and is found in Asia, Europe, South America, and North America.[9] It is inedible to humans.[10]


Cerrena unicolor has been identified as a source of the enzyme laccase. This enzyme has potential applications in a wide variety of bioprocesses. C. unicolor is known to produce laccase in culture at more favorable conditions and in higher yield than other wood rotting fungi,[11][12] and research is focussing on ways to produce laccase cost-effectively on a large scale.[13]


  1. ^ a b Roody, William C. (2003). Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 370. ISBN 978-0-8131-9039-6. Google Books
  2. ^ Bulliard, J.B.F. (1789). Herbier de la France (in French). 9. pp. 385–432.
  3. ^ Murrill, W.A. (1903). "A historical review of the genera of the Polyporaceae". Journal of Mycology. 9 (2): 87–102. doi:10.2307/3752511. JSTOR 3752511.
  4. ^ "GSD Species Synonymy: Cerrena unicolor (Bull.) Murrill". Species Fungorum. Kew Mycology. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  5. ^ a b "Cerrena unicolor (MushroomExpert.Com)". Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  6. ^ Kuo, Michael; Methven, Andy (2010). 100 Cool Mushrooms. University of Michigan Regional. p. 43. ISBN 978-0472034178.
  7. ^ a b c PAŽOUTOVÁ, Sylvie; ŠRŮTKA, Petr (2007). "Symbiotic relationship between Cerrena unicolor and the horntail Tremex fuscicornis recorded in the Czech Republic" (PDF). Czech Mycology.
  8. ^ Blanchette, Robert; Biggs, Alan (2013). Defense Mechanisms of Woody Plants Against Fungi. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 47. ISBN 978-3-662-01642-8.
  9. ^ Zhishu, Bi; Guoyang, Zheng; Li, Taihui (1993). The Macrofungus Flora of China's Guangdong Province. Chinese University Press. p. 209. ISBN 978-962-201-556-2.
  10. ^ Phillips, Roger (2010). Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books. p. 315. ISBN 978-1-55407-651-2.
  11. ^ Leonowicz A, Gianfreda L, Rogalski J, Jaszek M, Luterek J, Wojtaś-Wasilewska M, Malarczyk E, Dawidowicz A, Fink-Boots M, Ginalska G, Staszczak M, Cho N-S. (1997). "Appearance of laccase in wood-rotting fungi and its inducibility." Journal of Korean Wood Science and Technology 25: 29–36.
  12. ^ Rogalski J, Dawidowicz A, Jóźwik E, Leonowicz A. (1999). Immobilization of laccase from Cerrena unicolor on controlled porosity glass. Journal of Molecular Catalysis (B: Enzymatic) 6: 29–39.
  13. ^ Janusz, Grzegorz; Rogalski, Jerzy; Szczodrak, Janusz (2007). "Increased production of laccase by Cerrena unicolor in submerged liquid cultures". World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. 23 (10): 1459–1464. doi:10.1007/s11274-007-9390-y. S2CID 84965592.