Kretzschmaria deusta

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Kretzschmaria deusta
Scientific classification
K. deusta
Binomial name
Kretzschmaria deusta
(Hoffm.) P.M.D. Martin, (1970)
  • Discosphaera deusta(Hoffm.) Dumort., (1822)
  • Hypoxylon deustum(Hoffm.) Grev., (1828)
  • Hypoxylon magnosporumLloyd, (1921)
  • Hypoxylon ustulatumBull., (1791)
  • Nemania deusta(Hoffm.) Gray, (1821)
  • Nemania maxima(Weber) House, (1925)
  • Sphaeria albodeustaWahlenb., (1826)
  • Sphaeria deustaHoffm., (1787)
  • Sphaeria maximaWeber, (1778)
  • Sphaeria maximaBolton, (1788)
  • Sphaeria versipellisTode, (1791)
  • Stromatosphaeria deusta(Hoffm.) Grev., (1824)
  • Ustulina deusta(Hoffm.) Lind, (1913)
  • Ustulina maxima(Weber) Wettst., (1885)
  • Ustulina vulgarisTul. & C. Tul., (1863)
Young K. deusta growing on tree.

Kretzschmaria deusta, commonly known as brittle cinder, is a fungus and plant pathogen found in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere on broad-leaved trees, also found in Argentina,[1] South Africa, and Australia.[2]


Originally described as Sphaeria deusta by German naturalist George Franz Hoffman in 1787, later changed in 1970 by South African mycologist P.M.D. Martin to Kretzschmaria deusta. The epithet deusta was derived from Latin, meaning burnt.[3]


Kretzschmaria deusta is described as a wavy-edged cushion or crust, ranging in color from grey to white when young, and changing to black and brittle with age. Older fruitbodies look similar to charred wood, probably leading to them being underreported or ignored. Kretzschmaria deusta has a flask-shaped perithecium that contains asci in the fertile surface layer. Asci are typically 300 x 15 µm, with 8 spores per ascus. Smooth conidiospores also produced via asexual reproduction, typically 7 x 3 µm.[4] New fruiting bodies are formed in the spring and are flat and gray with white edges. The inconspicuous fruiting bodies persist all year and their appearance changes to resemble asphalt or charcoal, consisting of black, domed, lumpy crusts that crumble when pushed with force. The resulting brittle fracture can exhibit a ceramic-like fracture surface. Black zone lines can often be seen in cross-sections of wood infected with K. deusta. It is not edible [5].

Habitat and Ecology[edit]

K. deusta inhabits living hardwood trees including, but not limited to, European beech (Fagus sylvatica), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple (Acer rubrum), norway maple (Acer platanoides), oaks (Quercus), hackberry (Celtis), linden (Tilia), elm (Ulmus), and other hardwoods.[6][7][8] The most probably colonization strategy of K. deusta is heart rot invasion.[9] The initial colonization occurs through injuries to lower stems and/or roots of living trees, or through root contact with infected trees.[10] It causes a soft rot, initially and preferentially degrading cellulose and ultimately breaking down both cellulose and lignin.[11] The fungus continues to decay wood after the host tree has died, making K. deusta a facultative parasite.[12]


Studies show the possibility of a Trichoderma species being used as a biocontrol agent against the fungal pathogen.[13][14] Otherwise, there is no designated treatment for Kretzschmaria deusta once it has infected its host. Once established, the infection is terminal for the tree. It can result in sudden breakage in otherwise apparently healthy trees, with visually healthy crowns.[15] This can result in hazardous trees in public settings near roadways, trails, or buildings. Therefore, the recommended treatment would be to fell trees in areas that may be hazardous and to avoid using the infected plant material as mulch.[16]


  1. ^ Hladki, Adriana Ines; Romero, Andrea Irene (2001). "The genus Kretzschmaria from Tucumán, Argentina". ISSN 0093-4666. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Kretzschmaria deusta (Hoffm.) P.M.D.Martin". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  3. ^ Robinson, Les (2003). Field guide to the native plants of Sydney (3rd ed.). Kangaroo Press. p. 294. ISBN 0-7318-1211-5. OCLC 56844322.
  4. ^ "Kretzschmaria deusta, Brittle Cinder fungus". Retrieved 2023-05-04.
  5. ^ Phillips, Roger (2010). Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books. p. 376. ISBN 978-1-55407-651-2.
  6. ^ Brazee, Nicholas (2019-11-25). "Root and Butt Rot caused by Kretzschmaria deusta". UMASS Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment. Retrieved 2023-05-04.
  7. ^ Cordin, G.; Messina, G.; Maresi, G.; Zottele, F.; Ferretti, F.; Montecchio, L.; Oliveira Longa, C. M. (2021). "Kretzschmaria deusta, a limiting factor for survival and safety of veteran beech trees in Trentino (Alps, Northern Italy)". IForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry. 14 (6): 576. doi:10.3832/ifor3830-014. hdl:10449/71774. ISSN 1971-7458. S2CID 245343500.
  8. ^ Latałowa, Małgorzata; Pędziszewska, Anna; Maciejewska, Emilia; Święta-Musznicka, Joanna (2013). "Tilia forest dynamics, Kretzschmaria deusta attack, and mire hydrology as palaeoecological proxies for mid-Holocene climate reconstruction in the Kashubian Lake District (N Poland)". The Holocene. 23 (5): 667–677. Bibcode:2013Holoc..23..667L. doi:10.1177/0959683612467484. ISSN 0959-6836. S2CID 130795288.
  9. ^ Cristini, Valentino; Tippner, Jan; Nop, Patrik; Zlámal, Jan; Vand, Mojtaba Hassan; Šeda, Vít (2022-09-01). "Degradation of beech wood by Kretzschmaria deusta: its heterogeneity and influence on dynamic and static bending properties". Holzforschung. 76 (9): 813–824. doi:10.1515/hf-2022-0039. ISSN 1437-434X.
  10. ^ Guglielmo, Fabio; Michelotti, Serena; Nicolotti, Giovanni; Gonthier, Paolo (2012-12-01). "Population structure analysis provides insights into the infection biology and invasion strategies of Kretzschmaria deusta in trees". Fungal Ecology. 5 (6): 714–725. doi:10.1016/j.funeco.2012.06.001. hdl:2318/114691. ISSN 1754-5048.
  11. ^ Büttner, Enrico; Gebauer, Anna Maria; Hofrichter, Martin; Liers, Christiane; Kellner, Harald (2017-10-26). "Draft Genome Sequence of the Wood-Degrading Ascomycete Kretzschmaria deusta DSM 104547". Genome Announcements. 5 (43): e01076–17. doi:10.1128/genomeA.01076-17. ISSN 2169-8287. PMC 5658485. PMID 29074647.
  12. ^ Rogers, Jack D.; Ju, Wu-Ming; Adams, Michael J. "Kretzschmaria: Ecology and Host-Parasite Relationships". Retrieved 2011-05-10.
  13. ^ Schubert, Mark; Fink, Siegfried; Schwarze, Francis W. M. R. (2008-04-01). "Evaluation of Trichoderma spp. as a biocontrol agent against wood decay fungi in urban trees". Biological Control. 45 (1): 111–123. doi:10.1016/j.biocontrol.2008.01.001. ISSN 1049-9644.
  14. ^ Schubert, Mark; Fink, Siegfried; Schwarze, Francis W.M.R. (2008-12-01). "In Vitro Screening of an Antagonistic Trichoderma Strain Against Wood Decay Fungi". Arboricultural Journal. 31 (4): 227–248. doi:10.1080/03071375.2008.9747541. ISSN 0307-1375. S2CID 85644236.
  15. ^ Fungal Strategies of Wood Decay in Trees - Schwartze, Engels and Mattheck (2000)
  16. ^ Jon (2017-10-12). "Tree Diseases: Brittle Cinder (Kretzchmaria deusta)". Iron Tree - Tree Knowledge Base. Retrieved 2023-05-04.
K. deusta infection caused the rot of this Beech tree.

External links[edit]