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Cortinarius abnormis
Cortinarius abnormis
Cortinarius abnormis TAS10R PSC4567, Talbots Lagoon, Guildford, Tasmania. Images by David Catcheside.

Cortinarius abnormis Watling & T.W. May is a medium sized yellowish-brown agaric fungus with a slimy surface to the pileus and a dry stipe. It is an ectomycorrhizal species forming a symbiotic association with eucalypt tree species supplying the tree with minerals and water in return for products of photosynthesis. The accompanying field image includes the individual supplying DNA for this genome. The collection was made from the edge of a Eucalyptus nitens plantation, a potential energy crop, as part of a project investigating the transition from mushroom like fungi to truffle like fungi. This transition to a subterranean lifestyle is believed to be an adaptation to a drying climate, a trait with economic potential in future forestry. Cortinarius abnormis has an unusually tough texture and a copious bright yellow mycelium which has enabled tracing to similarly-colored ectomycorrhizal root tips. The fungus is endemic to Australia and found across higher rainfall areas of southern Australia, including Tasmania, in Eucalyptus forests. Styrylpyrone pigments have been isolated from Cortinarius abnormis. Presence of styrylpyrone secondary metabolites is highly unusual in the ectomycorrhizal genus Cortinarius but common in wood-decay fungi such as Gymnopilus that are distantly related.  


R. Watling, M. Gill, A. Giménez, T.W. May 1992. A new styrylpyrone-containing Cortinarius from Australia. Mycological Research 96: 743-748. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0953-7562(09)80443-7.