In Colombia the Eurasian fungus Amanita muscaria is expanding its range into native, tropical Quercus humboldtii forests
To meet a global demand for timber, tree plantations were established in South America during the first half of the 20th century. Extensive plantings of non-native species now are found in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. In Colombia, miscellaneous plantations were established in the 1950s, during a period of intensive local logging, when policies to limit deforestation in native Quercus humboldtii forests were established. One unforeseen consequence of planting non-native trees was the simultaneous introduction and subsequent persistence of ectomycorrhizal fungi. We sought to document the origins and spread of the introduced Amanita muscaria found in Colombian plantations of the Mexican species Pinus patula, North American species P. taeda, and Australian species Acacia melanoxylon and Eucalyptus globulus. In Colombia, Amanita muscaria is establishing a novel association with native Q. humboldtii and has spread to local Q. humboldtii forests. According to a Bayesian phylogeny and haplotype analysis based on the nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer region ITS1-5.8-ITS2 (ITS barcode), A. muscaria individuals found in four exotic plant species, and those colonizing Q. humboldtii roots, have a Eurasian origin and belong to two Eurasian haplotypes. This is the first time the spread of an introduced mutualist fungus into native Colombian Q. humboldtii forests is reported. To arrest its spread, we suggest the use of local inocula made up of native fungi, instead of inocula of introduced fungi.