The first time someone took note of Coniochaeta pulveracea was more than two hundred years ago, when the South African-born mycologist Dr Christiaan Hendrik Persoon mentioned it in his 1797 book on the classification of fungi. Now C. pulveracea has had its whole genome sequenced by microbiologists. All because this relatively unknown fungus has an extraordinary ability to degrade wood — hence the descriptor 'pulveracea', meaning powdery.