Mallocybe heimii ectomycorrhizae with Cistus creticus and Pinus halepensis in Mediterranean littoral sand dunes - assessment of phylogenetic relationships to M. arenaria and M. agardhii

Mycorrhiza. 2021 Jul;31(4):497-510. doi: 10.1007/s00572-021-01038-1. Epub 2021 Jul 1.


Ectomycorrhizal symbiosis appears extensively in the Northern Hemisphere, where Mediterranean ecosystems constitute an important ecological area of considerable biodiversity value. Littoral sand dunes are among high-risk habitats, and ectomycorrhizal lifestyle contributes significantly to supporting life in such regions. Mallocybe heimii (Bon) Matheny & Esteve-Rav. (Inocybaceae, Basidiomycota) and the very similar M. arenaria (Bon) Matheny & Esteve-Rav. grow in poor, usually sandy soils, in association with angiosperms or gymnosperms. Basidiomata originally identified under these names were collected from littoral sand dunes of Greece, and their morpho-anatomical characteristics were examined in conjunction with material derived from other European regions. Sequences from basidiomata and root tips corresponding to the nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) and large subunit (LSU) were obtained and analyzed. Phylogenetic results demonstrated that material identified as M. heimii or M. arenaria form a single well-supported group, while M. agardhii (N. Lund) Matheny & Esteve-Rav. is confirmed to be distinct from M. arenaria (the latter was initially described as a variety of the former, i.e., I. agardhii var. arenaria Bon). A detailed tree of the genus Mallocybe was generated on the basis of concatenated ITS and LSU sequences, and relationships of selected taxa are discussed in the light of morphological and sequence data. In addition, the first morphotype descriptions of M. heimii ectomycorrhizae with Cistus creticus L. and Pinus halepensis Miller are hereby provided. Both morphotypes exhibited the typical characteristics of Inocybe/Mallocybe ectomycorrhizae; however, differences were noted, the most significant being the presence of clamps on mantle hyphae and the type of anastomoses.

Keywords: Cistus; Ectomycorrhiza; Inocybaceae; Inocybe; Mediterranean; Phylogenetics; Pinus; Sand dune.

MeSH terms

  • Cistus*
  • Ecosystem
  • Mycorrhizae* / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Pinus*
  • Sand


  • Sand