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Suillus clintonianus
Suillus clintonianus photographed by Nhu Nguyen, September 29, 2013. Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, Minnesota.

Suillus clintonianus

Suillus clintonianus (Peck) Kuntze is an ectomycorrhizal mushroom-forming fungus. The species associates with Larix (larches) where it exchanges mineral nutrients for photosynthates from its host. The species is perhaps the most abundant of all the Larix-associated Suillus, often fruiting in abundance from mature forests, but especially along road-side plantings. It was previously known as S. grevillei but Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) marker gene phylogeny suggests that S. grevillei is native to Europe and S. clintonianus is native to North America and eastern Asia (Nguyen et al. 2016). It is very similar in morphology to S. grevillei, so knowing locality of occurrence is very important to determining its identity. A rare gasteroid form called Gastrosuillus laricinus was also determined to be this species (Kretzer and Bruns 2007, Nguyen et al. 2016). In contrast to its widespread distribution, individual genets appears to be rather small < 50 cm (Zhou et al. 2000). Suillus clintonianus appears to be an early colonizer of both young forests and seedlings in various studies (Margit et al. 2010, Leski and Rudawska 2012, Kennedy et al. 2018). The fungus itself not only better colonizes Larix hosts vs. pines, but P transfer to compatible hosts was significantly stronger than to incompatible hosts (Finlay 1989).

Suillus as a genus is one of the most common ectomycorrhizal symbionts of the pine family (Pinaceae) in the northern hemisphere. Commonly known as ‘Slippery Jacks’, the mushrooms of this genus provide food for both wildlife and humans. Suillus species have been used in forest restoration following natural and human-made disturbances, have potential for bioremediation (mycoremediation), and likely play an important role in facilitating soil carbon sequestration in mycorrhizal forests.

This genome is part of the Community Science Program (Proposal 502931) “A genome atlas of the ectomycorrhizal genus Suillus: Phylogenetic diversity and population genomics of a keystone guild of symbiotic forest fungi”, a collaborative effort aimed at using genomics data to understand and connect the evolutionary history, ecology, and genomic mechanisms of mutualistic ectomycorrhizal symbionts and their Pinaceae hosts. Please contact the PI for permission prior to the use of any data in publications.

References:

Finlay RD. 1989. Functional aspects of phosphorus uptake and carbon translocation in incompatible ectomycorrhizal associations between Pinus sylvestris and Suillus grevillei and Boletinus cavipes. New Phytolotolgist 112:185–192, doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.1989.tb02373.x.

Kennedy PG, Mielke LA, Nguyen NH. 2018. Ecological responses to forest age, habitat, and host vary by mycorrhizal type in boreal peatlands. Mycorrhiza 28:315–328, doi:10.1007/s00572-018-0821-4.

Kretzer A, Bruns TD. 2007. Molecular revisitation of the genus Gastrosuillus. Mycologia 89:586–589.

Leski T, Rudawska M. 2012. Ectomycorrhizal fungal community of naturally regenerated European larch (Larix decidua) seedlings. Symbiosis 56:45–53, doi:10.1007/s13199-012-0164-4.

Margit B, Margit Z, Ursula P. 2010. Ectomycorrhizal status of Larix decidua, Picea abies and Pinus cembra nursery plants in South Tyrol. Forest Observer 5:3–30, doi:doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2006.01208.x.

Nguyen NH, Vellinga EC, Bruns TD, Kennedy PG. 2016. Phylogenetic assessment of global Suillus ITS sequences supports morphologically defined species and reveals synonymous and undescribed taxa. Mycologia. 108:1216–1228, doi:10.3852/16-106.