Serpula lacrymans, formerly Merulius lacrymans, is the cause of dry rot in buildings. The dry rot fungus belongs to the Division of Fungi, Basidiomycota (basidiomycetes). Other Basidiomycetes found on wood in North America include: Meruliporia incrassata, Gloeophyllum trabeum, Tapinella panuoides, Antrodia vaillantii, Coniophora puteana, Postia placenta and Antrodia serialis. Gloeophyllum sepiarium is also a common fungus on wood. Of these fungi Meruliporia incrassata and Serpula lacrymans have the capability of transporting water from wet wood to relatively dry wood over inert surfaces such as bricks and mortar.
As the cause of “cancer” of buildings, that is dry rot, Serpula lacrymans is considered the most damaging biodeterioration fungus of construction materials including wood in temperate areas of the globe. Occasionally, Serpula lacrymans may even damage the masonry. Dry rot is often found when wood decay is at advanced stage (See References For Dry Rot Fungus).