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Hidden diversity uncovered in Hygrophorus sect. Aurei (Hygrophoraceae), including the Mediterranean H. meridionalis and the North American H. boyeri, spp. nov.

Journal article
Authors Pierre-Arthur Moreau
Jean-Michel Bellanger
Renée Lebeuf
Zacharias Athanassiou
Antonis Athanasiades
Herman Lambert
Christian Schwarz
Ellen Larsson
Michael Loizides
Published in Fungal Biology
Volume 122
Issue 8
Pages 817-836
ISSN 1878-6146
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 817-836
Language en
Keywords Hygrophorus aureus, Hygrophorus fuligineus, Hygrophorus fuscoalbus, Hygrophorus hypothejus, Waxcap, Woodwax
Subject categories Biological Sciences, Biological Systematics


For many years, the binomial Hygrophorus hypothejus was widely applied to collections from various geographical regions in different continents, assuming a circum-boreal and circum-mediterranean dis- tribution for this species. This hypothesis, however, had never been put to the test. To assess the diversity and species-limits within this complex of yellow-coloured waxcaps, a phylogenetic, morphological and taxonomical investigation into Hygrophorus sect. Aurei and similar species in sect. Olivaceoumbrini was carried out, including material of pan-European origin, as well as the east and west coasts of North America. Following sequencing of the ITS rDNA locus, nine lineages are confirmed in sect. Aurei, most of them highly continentalised. Of these, two are new to science, introduced here as Hygrophorus boyeri sp. nov., from Pinus banksiana and P. rigida forests in eastern North America and from P. muricata and P. contorta forests in western North America, and Hygrophorus meridionalis sp. nov., from Pinus brutia and Pinus halepensis forests in the island of Cyprus and mainland Greece. H. hypothejus is lectotypified and epitypified, and here resolved as a strictly European species, with the old forgotten taxon Hygrophorus siccipes revived as its North American vicariant. The placement of Hygrophorus fuligineus in sect. Aurei is phylogenetically confirmed and detailed comparisons between morphologically similar and phyloge- netically affiliated taxa in sect. Aurei and sect. Olivaceoumbrini are provided. The chronic confusion associated with Hygrophorus fuscoalbus, a highly controversial taxon described from Germany nearly two centuries ago and variously interpreted since, is discussed, concluding that this name is too ambiguous to be applied to any currently recognized species.

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