Dry rot is caused by a fungus called merulius lachrymans, which needs damp
wood to grow. The decayed wood is easily crumbled to powder, and may appear
quite dry. Dry rot also sends out mycelial strands, which can carry water
from the damp source of infection to dry wood some distance away, wetting
it and promoting fungal growth in otherwise dry wood. Wet rot, caused by a
number of other fungi, softens wood, which often appears wet and mushy as
Maura Gatensby Architect
At 08:27 PM 6/3/1999 EDT, you wrote:
>I came across an interesting possibility; perhaps a source for what we think
>to be the misnomer "dry rot".... Could it have come from the old mariners?
>Wood that is continuously submerged doesn't rot, but if exposed to air, it
>may. Perhaps "dry" wood aboard ship wasn't what we would consider to be dry
>wood in a building. Any etymologists out there?