A systematic revision of the ectomycorrhizal genus Laccaria from Korea

Species of Laccaria (Hydnangiaceae, Basidiomycota) are important in forest ecosystems as ectomycorrhizal fungi. Nine of the 75 described Laccaria species worldwide been reported from Korea. Most of these have European and North American names, and their identities are based solely on morphological features. To evaluate the taxonomy of Korean Laccaria, we used 443 specimens collected between 1981 and 2016 in a phylogenetic analysis based on sequence data from nuc rDNA internal transcribed spacer ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 rDNA (ITS) region, nuc 28S rDNA (28S), RNA polymerase II subunit 2 (rpb2), and translation elongation factor 1-α (tef1). Ten Laccaria species were identified. Three of these were previously reported from Korea: L. bicolor, L. tortilis, and L. vinaceoavellanea. Laccaria alba, L. japonica, and L. murina are confirmed as new reports from Korea. Lastly, four new Laccaria species are described: L. araneosa, L. parva, L. torosa, and L. versiforma. This study supports the general contention that Asian species of ectomycorrhizal fungi may not be conspecific with morphologically similar species from Europe and North America. Furthermore, identification based on morphology alone is often unreliable in Laccaria due to considerable overlap of characters among species. Thus, use of molecular methods is necessary for effective identification. Illustrations of the four newly described species and a taxonomic key to species of Laccaria in Korea are provided.