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European earthstars in Geastraceae (Geastrales, Phallomycetidae) – a systematic approach using morphology and molecular sequence data

Journal article
Authors Mikael Jeppson
R. Henrik Nilsson
Ellen Larsson
Published in Systematics and Biodiversity
Volume 11
Issue 4
Pages 437-465
ISSN 1477-2000
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 437-465
Language en
Keywords Geastrum, molecular phylogeny, Myriostoma, Radiigera, Trichaster, systematics, taxonomy
Subject categories Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Terrestrial ecology, Biological Systematics


Phylogenetic relationships among European earthstars were inferred using sequence data from the nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed region (ITS1, 5.8S and ITS2), partial nuclear large subunit (LSU), and partial translation elongation factor 1-alpha (Tef-α). The phylogenetic analyses recovered 11 clades that correlate to 31 morphological species and species groups. A close relationship of Myriostoma coliforme and Geastrum was supported by the molecular data. The genus Radiigera was found to be polyphyletic, and the four species were recovered in different clades within Geastrum. Radiigera bushnellii, R. flexuosa, R. fuscogleba and R. taylori are therefore combined in Geastrum. One of the supported terminal clades is likely to represent an undescribed species that occurs in east central Europe. Notes on the morphology and ecology for each species are given, including a key to the 31 species of earthstars occurring in Europe.

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