Padang, Padang City, West Sumatra, Indonesia
Identification request
Identification of epiphyte on oil palm

Can someone please kindly help to identify this epiphytes that grow on the empty old palm fruit bunch.

It is found in the plantation on the empty bunches which was used as mulching for the oil palm.




I am sending this response on behalf of Dr Barbara Waterhouse, Department of Agriculture and the Department of  Environment, Australia. 

Good morning Grahame

My instant reaction looking at the photo was that it reminded me of fern roots.

While I don’t know lichens in the genus Bryoria, looking at other online images there are similarities, and both Stephen and Mason (Mason Campbell our new botanist) commented on seeing wiry-stemmed organisms that they thought were fungi  (?? Could they actually be lichens??) in local rainforests. Dr Google tells me that Bryoria has a more temperate distribution, but there are some tropical records from higher elevations (e.g. PNG, Borneo, Bhutan).

The fact that it appears to be growing within oil palm plantations suggests a lower elevation tropical environment where myriad epiphytic ferns and other organisms occur.

Perhaps Mr Foo could supply some additional images to Pestnet, including the broader habitat.


More photos from Foo Chee Seng showing the strands of a suspect fungus growing from the ERB - empty fruit bunch of and oil palm. 

Good morning.

These are the photos taken on the EFB fungus that we kept in the garden of the mess.

No fruiting body is found by naked eyes.

Foo Chee Sen

Dr Barbara Waterhouse sent Mr Foo's photos to Dr Matt Barrett, James Cook University, Australia, and this is his response:

Hi Barbara,

It is difficult to say for certain, but I suspect that these are black rhizomorphs of a Moniliophthora / Crinipellis / Marasmiellus species (a fungus with small agaric fruiting bodies, but some pathogenic species rarely produce fruitbodies). I have not seen this exact form, but other species can form long black rhizomorphs that tangle leaf litter in the canopy. Some species are pathogens, e.g. Moniliophthora / Crinipellis perniciosa of cocoa. So there is a possibility this is a pathogen.

It would probably take DNA sequencing to identify it for certainty without fruiting bodies, but a microscopic examination would confirm it had fungal hyphae at least.


From Barbara waterhouse to Matt Barrett:

Dear Matt

Two weeks ago we (NAQS botanists) were contacted by Grahame Jackson the moderator of Pestnet to ask whether we could assist with identification of a photo that had been sent directly to him by Mr Foo, Padang, West Sumatra. Along with the first image was a screen shot of some images of the lichen Bryoria spp. which Mr Foo had found online. The single image originally provided was not particularly helpful. Grahame asked Mr Foo to post his request on Pestnet and include some addition images. See link:

Today Grahame has emailed us a number of additional images provided by Mr Foo. Stephen, Mason and I have pondered over the original images and debated whether they could belong to a fern or fungus (or even possibly be some odd adventitious palm roots) but am wondering whether you could cast your expert eyes over them and advise what you think?

 Any comments would be appreciated.