Elbowpatch Crust (Fomitiporia punctata) is one of many fungi that cause a disease known as canker rot. Cankers are open wounds or lesions on the trunk or a branch. With this species, the canker is takes the form of a brown “elbow patch.” It spreads flat on the surface of the substrate with no stalk or cap (resupinate). The outer (pore) surface is yellowish-brown or grayish-brown. The margins are yellowish-brown at first, eventually becoming black and cracked.
Elbowpatch Crust is a common and widespread wood decaying fungus. It occurs worldwide on every continent except Antarctica. In North America it occurs east of the Great Plains and in the Pacific Northwest. It is found in deciduous and mixed forests and woodlands. It grows on many hardwood trees and shrubs, including willow, ash, maple, plum, buckthorn, mountain ash, Siberian peashrub, and common lilac. It is usually seen on fallen trees and branches, but will also grow on live trees and shrubs. It causes white rot of sapwood and in some species also of heartwood. It can weaken a tree making it a hazard to buildings and people.
Orchard orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) is a sedentary, small, brilliantly colored, long-jawed orb weaver. It is one of the most common spiders in the eastern United States, but is less common in Minnesota, where it reaches the western extent of its range. It is found in forests, dense woodlands, woodland edges, shrubby meadows, gardens, and orchards.
The species name venusta is Latin for “beautiful” and it is easy to see why it was given to this spider. The abdomen is silvery-white with four pairs of dark stripes, a yellow stripe on each side, and often a pair of bright coppery-red spots toward the rear.
Charles Darwin collected this species in 1832 on his voyage of the Beagle. He named it Leucauge argyrobapta. Both names are from the Greek, Leucauge meaning “with a bright gleam,” and argyrobapta meaning “dipped in silver.” The specimen was lost after Darwin’s voyage back to London.
In 1973, as party of an experiment to study web building in zero gravity, two orchard weaver spiders were brought to the U.S. space station Skylab 3. After some time to adjust to weightlessness, the spiders constructed complete webs that were not much different than those constructed on earth.