The Trail Companion
By Scott Heeschen.
In our Fall 2000 issue, we reported on the Sudden
Oak Death syndrome that has killed tanoaks and
coastal lives oaks in coastal California.
Rhododendrons were recently found to be affected by
the same fungus, with similar symptoms of redish or
black sap bleeding and cankers below the bleeding.
The fungus has also been isolated on dying
huckleberry plants around Mt. Tamalpais and Muir
Woods, and on shreve oaks (a species similar to coast
live oak) in Santa Cruz County
The origin of the
fungus is still uncertain, but scientists have
discovered that it is genetically similar to a fungus
that has destroyed many Port Orford cedars in the
Pacific Northwest. That fungus may have hybridized,
giving birth to a new species with oak and
The UC Berkeley's Sudden Oak Death Information
website includes press releases detailing the new
discoveries, as well as a wealth of other information
about the fungus and its hosts.