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Home • Rhizopogon salebrosus TDB-379 v1.0
Rhizopogon salebrosus
Rhizopogon salebrosus A.H. Sm. (9746). Copyright © 2007 Darvin DeShazer (darv)

Rhizopogon salebrosus is a member of the order Boletales, and the genus is the sister taxon to Suillus.  It is an ectomycorrhizal symbiont, and like other fungi in this functional guild it is an important mutualist that provides mineral nutrients to its host in exchange for photosynthetically produced sugars. Pinus spp are its primary hosts, and it is commonly found associated with them throughout Western North America in both young and mature forest settings. 

Rhizopogon salebrosus is also host to the parasitic plant Pterospora andromedea, which obtains carbon indirectly from pine trees through the shared connection to R. salebrosus. This epiparasitic plant is specifically associated with Rhizopogon salebrosus and a few closely related species. In fact the isolate used for the genomic sequence was isolated from the roots of Pterospora andromedea.  The highly specific pattern of host specialization is typical of epiparasitim interactions in the Monotropoidea, the subfamily that contains Pterospora.

R. salebrosus produces an underground truffle-like fruiting body that are dispersed through mycophagy by a diversity of mammals including squirrels, voles, mice, marmots, deer, and bears. The spores, once deposited in the soil, form long-lived spore banks that colonize pine seedlings following disturbance and serve an important role in forest regeneration.