Coprinopsis strossmayeri agg. infrequent but easy to identify !%!&:$"7!&!%!#P&6&R! $%!& $%%!%#P. Introduction A number of fungal species appear to be absent from the checklists of several countries since they are characterized by infrequency in their fructification. Different explanations have been given for this behaviour and among these the most plausible is linked to weather variations that induce the spores to germinate or mycelium to produce fruitbodies only in certain years. This hypothesis has already been illustrated for some species such as Capnobotrys dingleyae S. Hughes, Entoloma caeruleum (P.D. Orton) Noordel., E. plebeioides (Schulzer) Noordel. Ileodictyon gracile Berk., Terfezia olbiensis Tul. & C. Tul. and Buchwaldoboletus lignicola (Kallenb.) Pilát (Karadelev et al. 2017; Saitta et al. 2011; Venturella et al. 2012; Venturella 2017; and Zambonelli et al., 2014). Although the role of fungi in ecosystems is well recognized, there have been comparatively few discussions on their function in urban systems (Newbound et al. 2010). A high number of tropical and subtropical trees are cultivated along the streets and in the public and private gardens of Italian towns (Venturella et al. 1990) and a number of fungi are reported from their trunks and stumps. This is exactly the case with Coprinopsis strossmayeri (Schulzer) Redhead, Vilgalys & Moncalvo: infrequent but easy to identify, which was observed, in autumn 2019, for the first time in Sicily.
Fungorum (www.indexfungorum.org). The herbarium samples are kept in the Herbarium SAF of the Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences (University of Palermo, Italy, SAF 05100). Morphology Cap medium to large, ovoid when young, conical when ripe, 2–4 cm high and 1.5–2 cm diameter when the cap is still closed, 4–8 cm when completely mature, margin irregular. The cap surface is entirely covered with a white veil that cracks into polygonal plates. The surface of the cap becomes smooth and brown when mature. Gills free, thick and with floccose margins, initially whitish, then grey and finally black and deliquescent. Stem cylindrical, initially hidden by the cap and of the same height, then, when maturing, it lengthens and reaches 5–12 cm x 4–10 mm, with a white surface. Stem displaying at the base long, dark red-brown mycelial cords (Fig. 2), observable if carefully extracted from the substratum. Flesh of the cap very fine and delicate, quickly deliquescent. The flesh of the stem is white and more consistent, without smell or special taste. Basidiospores (Fig. 3) in mass black, avg. 9.1 x 5.8 µm, ellipsoidal-subphaseoliform (lateral view), ovoid (frontal view), central germ-pore evident (1–1.4 µm wide), red-brown in water, blackish with KOH. Cheilocystidia 32–80 × 10–38 µm, utriform, ellipsoid, fusiform, sublageniform. Pleurocystidia 60–130 × 27–55 µm, similar in shape to cheilocystidia, fusiformventricose to cylindrical with thin walls, easily collapsing. Veil formed by 2–15 µm wide hyphae septate, some diverticulate, with clamp connections.
Material and Methods Basidiomata were collected in the garden of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences of the University of Palermo, on a rotted stump of Styphnolobium japonicum (= Sophora japonica, the Pagoda Tree). (Fig. 1a,b). The basidiomata were identified while fresh. Microscopic characters were observed in water and spore measurements were based on 50 observations (100 × objective). Nomenclature follows Index
Habitus and habitat On a stump of Styphnolobium japonicum (L.) Schott., in the garden of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences of the University of Palermo (Italy), 34 m a.s.l.,
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ssp., Fraxinus ssp., Quercus ssp. and Betula carpatica (Musumeci 2008-2009). This species is considered as rare in Europe (Keles & Demirel 2010) where it is also recorded from Austria (Uljé & Noordeloos 1997), Belgium (Fraiture & Vanholen 2000), France (Mornand 1998), Germany (Uljé & Noordeloos 1997) and The Netherlands (Immerzeel 1997). Badalyan et al. (2011) reported C. strossmayeri on stumps of Fraxinus excelsior and Platanus orientalis in Yerevan (Armenia). Outside of Europe It has been observed in Japan on decayed wood in a plantation of Cryptomeria japonica (Hongo & Yokoyama 1976). The further species C. populicola Mornand, that they discuss, is a synonym. In Canada it was recorded in the city of Langley (British Columbia), in the garden of a private house (GBIF source). In Morocco, it was collected in the mining site of Jerada by El Akil et al. (2014). As regards the assessment according to IUCN criteria, C. strossmayeri is included among the Vulnerable species (VU) of Alsace (France) (Muller et al. 2014).
Taxonomy, ecology and distribution The genus Coprinopsis P. Karst. belongs to the family Psathyrellaceae (Singer) Vilgalys, Moncalvo & Redhead, order Agaricales, class Basidiomycetes, division Basidiomycota. Originally described in 1879 as Coprinus strossmayeri S. Schulz. and then transferred to the genus Coprinopsis by Redhead et al. (2001). C. strossmayeri var. populicola (Mornand) M. Bon has been collected on wood debris under Populus nigra L. (GBIF source). This taxon is currently considered as a synonym of C. strossmayeri. Coprinopsis strossmayeri belongs to subsection Alachuani but is characterized by its large size that makes it look like a member of subsection Atramentarii. The colour of basidiomata, the presence of residues of the general veil on the cap and, principally, the presence of rhizomorphs at the base of the stipe make it easily distinguishable from C. atramentaria (Bull.) Redhead, Vilgalys & Moncalvo and C. romagnesiana (Singer) Redhead, Vilgalys & Moncalvo. As shown by Douglas et al. (2020), also in this issue, C. strossmayeri may well be a species complex. C. strossmayeri was first reported in Slavonia (Eastern Croatia) by Schulzer (1879) and next found in Europe many years later in Germany by Enderle & Bender (1990). Italian records In Italy, it was recorded from Piedmont, on a stump of Aesculus hippocastanum (Vizzini 2001) and Tuscany (Uljé & Noordeloos 1997). Further findings, from May to August of different years, are reported from Mandello del Lario (Lecco, Lombardia) on Populus nigra and in public gardens, in Bosco della Panfilia, a rare lowland forest located in Emilia-Romagna and more precisely in the municipality of Sant’Agostino, on the border between the provinces of Ferrara and Bologna (Lanconelli 2000). C. strossmayeri was also reported in Umbria, as a rare species, in Marmore Falls (Rieti) (Venanzoni et al. 2018). Elsewhere in Europe In Abárzuza (Navarra, Spain) it is reported from dead and burnt oak logs, while in Switzerland it was collected, at 250 m above sea level., in a mixed wood with Acer ssp., Populus
Discussion This is the first record of C. strossmayeri on Styphnolobium japonicum, as an infrequent species but easy to identify thanks to the size of basidiomata, the residues of veil on the cap, and the long mycelial cords at the base of stem. There is still little information on the role of such species in wood degradation. In this case, we noted that the colonization of the stump occurs together with ascomata of Daldinia concentrica (Bolton) Ces. & De Not. As often happens on stumps, several fungal species may be present and contribute to the degradation of the stump. C. strossmayeri is also a fungus of considerable interest as its extracts show antibacterial activity against human and animal Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella sp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Streptococcus haemoliticus (Badalyan et al. 2008). Thanks to its terpenoid content, it is also recognized as having antifungal, mitogenic/ regenerative, proteolytic/caseinolytic/fibrinolytic properties (Badalyan et al. 2006). Although it is inedible, it can be considered as a potential medicinal mushroom.
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