During a general survey for the current Danish basidiomycote atlas a rather unpromising locality in Northern Jutland produced a series of rather interesting records including the subject of this blog.
Under a smallish apple tree (Malus domestica) lots of this years fruits showed signs of Molinia (fructigena) infections and a closer inspection of the soil in the shade of the crown produced many sclerotized apples covered in big, stipitate apothecia, some of which displayed a rather peculiar dark grey brown color.
Under the microscope the colour was shown to be caused by (over-) mature ascospores that made the preparation superficially resemble one of a Hypoxylon species! [sp. ca. 10. x 4.8 µm with some of the pigmented ones clearly bigger; one side flattened and one end slightly more pointy than the other - very close to a Hypoxylon spore without a visible germination apparatus].
The spores match otherwise M. fructigena but at present we cannot exclude M. laxa and M. fructicola. We have so far been unable to locate information on the darkening of the ascospores. The apothecia are ± hairy, even at the apothecial margin, up to 5 mm wide and 10 mm high including the stipe.
[UPDATE: as seen in the comments below, this may not be a Monilinia at all but rather a Lambertella (and if so, the first finding of this genus in Denmark)]
Thomas Læssøe & Jens H. Petersen