Picture-less Phellinus article. Underground Lactarius

Moselio Schaechter mschaech at sunstroke.sdsu.edu
Fri Feb 28 03:36:29 EST 2003

A recent article in Mycologia by Rizzo et al. entitled:  "Phellinus
coronadensis: A New Species From Southern Arizona, USA"  states that this
fungus,  previously reported as P. torulosus, turns out to be quite distinct
on the basis of DNA analysis (of the small ribosomal subunit of
mitochondria).   What called my attention is that the article has nary a
macroscopic picture of the new species.  I have nothing against molecular
taxonomy (in fact, made my living in part studying DNA), but  omitting a
photograph of the object of attention caused me to harrumph a bit in my
dotage.  Is one dendrogram worth a thousand pictures?

Speaking of  this issue of Mycologia, the cover sports a photo of a
Lactarius that, remarkably, grows underground.  The accompanying article by
Dennis Desjardin calls this new species ³unusual and exciting,²  terms too
seldom seen in learned journals.  Underground or not, this fungus makes
spores that are forcibly discharged, just  as if they were made on exposed
gills.   And it exudes a showy red latex.   Secotioid/gastroid mushrooms are
not new, but this one is quite spectacular.

Elio Schaechter
Author, "In the Company of Mushrooms"
Harvard University Press


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