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Suillus discolor
Suillus discolor photographed by Cathy Cripps.

Suillus discolor

Suillus discolor (A.H. Smith, Thiers & O.K. Miller) N.H. Nguyen is a mutualistic ectomycorrhizal mushroom-forming fungus. The species associates with Pinus hosts in the subgenus Strobus where it exchanges mineral nutrients for photosynthates from its host. It was previously known as S. tomentosus var. discolor, but was elevated to species status by Nguyen et al. (2016). A complete description can be found in Cripps et al. (2016). This species is native to western North America, with a large distribution occurring at high elevation. Records of this species are known from California, east to New Mexico and Colorado, and north to Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and potentially further north. This species is a member of a community of ectomycorrhizal fungi that contributes to the stability and sustainability of high elevation pine forests in western North America (Cripps & Antibus 2011).

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.


Cripps, C.L., Antibus, R.K., 2011. Native ectomycorrhizal fungi of limber and whitebark pine: Necessary for forest sustainability? In: Keane, Robert E.; Tomback, Diana F.; Murray, Michael P.; Smith, Cyndi M., Eds. The Future of High-Elevation, Five-Needle White Pines in Western North America: Proceedings of the High Five Symposium. 28-30 June 2010; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-63. pp. 37–44.

Cripps, C., Evenson, V., Kuo, M., 2016. The essential guide to Rocky Mountain mushrooms by habitat. University of Illinois Press.

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.

Genome Reference(s)