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Melanoleuca cognata 20101010w.JPG
Melanoleuca cognata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: incertae sedis
Genus: Melanoleuca
Pat. (1897)
Type species
Melanoleuca melaleuca
(Persoon) Murrill (1911)
  • Kinia Consiglio, Contu, Setti & Vizzini (2008)
  • Melaleuca Pat. (1887)
  • Psammospora Fayod (1893)
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium

cap is convex

or depressed

hymenium is adnate

or adnexed
stipe is bare

spore print is white

to cream
ecology is saprotrophic

edibility: edible

or unknown

Melanoleuca is a poorly known genus of saprotrophic mushrooms traditionally classified in the family Tricholomataceae. Most are small to medium sized, white, brown, ocher or gray with a cylindrical to subcylindrical stipe and white to pale yellowish gills. The basidiospores are ellipsoid and ornamented with amyloid warts.[3][4][5] Melanoleuca is considered a difficult group to study due to their macroscopic similarities among species and the need of a thorough microscopic analysis to separate species.[6] DNA studies have determined that this genus is closely related to Amanita and Pluteus and that it does not belong to the family Tricholomataceae.[7][8]


The name of the genus is derived from the Ancient Greek melano- meaning "black", and leukos meaning "white".


Macroscopic characters[edit]

The fruit bodies of Melanoleuca are small to medium size (pileus 10–120 mm in diameter). The pileus is convex becoming depressed at the center, it is usually dry and white, brown, ocher, or grey. The gills are adnexed, sinuate, adnate, or subdecurrent, white to yellowish. The stipe is central, cylindrical or slightly swollen at the base, dry and longitudinally striate. Development gymnocarpic and stipitocarpic. Odor and taste usually indistinctive, mild, fungoid, sweet, or rancid. The spore print is white to pale yellowish.[4][5]

Microscopic characters[edit]

Spores of Melanoleuca in a scanning electron microscope

The spores of Melanoleuca are 7.0–11.0 x 4.0–6.0 µm, thin-walled, ellipsoid, amyloid with ornamented warts. They look very similar to the spores of Leucopaxillus, however, Melanoleuca spores present a plage. Basidia are usually 4-spored, cylindrical to clavate. Pleurocystidia and cheilocystidia are present or absent, if present they are urticoid, thin-walled or fusiform to lageniform, thick-walled. They can have crystals incrusted at the apex. Cystidia are very important to separate species within this genus. Pileipellis is a trichoderm, sometimes a cutis. Hymenophoral trama parallel. Clamp connections are absent in all parts of the fruit body.[4][5]

Classification and phylogeny[edit]

Phylogenetic studies based on molecular characters have shown that Melanoleuca does not belong to the Tricholomataceae.[7][8] Moncalvo et al.[7] presented a molecular phylogeny of the Agaricales based on LSU ribosomal RNA sequence data, including sequences of M. alboflavida and M. cognata. In this phylogeny Melanoleuca was clustered with Pluteus but with low bootstrap support. Matheny et al.[8] performed a phylogenetic analysis of the Agaricales based on six-gene regions, including sequences of M. verrucipes. In this analysis Melanoleuca, Pluteus and Volvariella were recovered as a monophyletic group and closely related with the marine gasteromycete Limnoperdon. These three genera together with members of the Amanitaceae and Pleurotaceae conformed the Pluteoid clade. Garnica et al.[9] and Binder et al.[10] recovered a similar topology with Pluteus, Volvariella and Melanoleuca as a monophyletic group. Justo et al. performed a molecular phylogeny of the family Pluteaceae and found Melanoleuca to be the sister group to a clade composed of Pluteus and Volvopluteus.[11] This clade was poorly supported in their analysis.[11]

Habitat and Distribution[edit]

Melanoleuca species are saprotrophic; growing on soil in grasslands, deciduous and evergreen forests, and sand dunes.[4][6][12] They are cosmopolitan, but mainly distributed in temperate regions. Few species are known from the tropics.[4][13]


Melanoleuca species are reported to be edible. The most common species that are consumed are M. alboflavida, M. cognata, M. evenosa, and M. melaleuca.[4][14][15] Melanoleuca strictipes is reported to be slightly toxic.[12]


Murrill[16] published the description of 119 species from North America, those species were revisited by Pfister[17] who concluded that only six belong in Melanoleuca, while the rest belong to other genera as Clitocybe or Tricholoma. Singer[4] considered 48 species worldwide, while Bon[5] recognized 65 species from Europe. Kirk et al.[18] consider about 50 species worldwide.

Representative species[edit]


  1. ^ "Synonyms: Melanoleuca Pat". Index Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  2. ^ a b Vizzini A, Consiglio G, Setti L (2010). "The agaricoid genus Kinia is a new member of the Pluteoid clade subordinate to Melanoleuca" (PDF). Mycosphere. 1 (2): 141–145. 
  3. ^ Métrod G. (1948). "Essai sur le genre Melanoleuca Patouillard emend". Bulletin de la Société Mycologique de France. 64: 141–165. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Singer R. (1986). The Agaricales in Modern Taxonomy (4th ed.). Koenigstein Königstein im Taunus, Germany: Koeltz Scientific Books. ISBN 3-87429-254-1. 
  5. ^ a b c d Bon M. "Flore mycologique d'Europe, 2 - Les Tricholomes et ressemblants". Documents Mycologiques Mémoire Hors Series (in French). 2 (ii): 1–163. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Boekhout T. (1988). "Notulae ad floram agaricinam neerlandicam- XVI. New taxa, new combinations in Melanoleuca Pat. and notes on rare species in the Netherlands". Persoonia. 13 (4): 397–431. 
  7. ^ a b c Moncalvo JM, Vilgalys R, Redhead SA, Johnson JE, James TY, Catherine Aime M, Hofstetter V, Verduin SJ, Larsson E, Baroni TJ, Greg Thorn R, Jacobsson S, Clémençon H, Miller OK Jr (2002). "One hundred and seventeen clades of euagarics" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 23 (3): 357–400. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00027-1. PMID 12099793. 
  8. ^ a b c Matheny PB, Curtis JM, Hofstetter V, Aime MC, Moncalvo JM, Ge ZW, Slot JC, Ammirati JF, Baroni TJ, Bougher NL, Hughes KW, Lodge DJ, Kerrigan RW, Seidl MT, Aanen DK, DeNitis M, Daniele GM, Desjardin DE, Kropp BR, Norvell LL, Parker A, Vellinga EC, Vilgalys R, Hibbett DS (2006). "Major clades of Agaricales: A multilocus phylogenetic overview" (PDF). Mycologia. 98 (6): 982–985. doi:10.3852/mycologia.98.6.982. PMID 17486974. 
  9. ^ Garnica S, Weiss M, Walther G, Oberwinkler F (2007). "Reconstructing the evolution of agarics from nuclear gene sequences and basidiospore ultrastructure". Mycological Research. 111 (9): 1019–1029. doi:10.1016/j.mycres.2007.03.019. PMID 18022533. 
  10. ^ Binder M, Larsson KH, Matheny PB, Hibbett DS (2010). "Amylocorticiales ord. nov. and Jaapiales ord. nov.: early diverging clades of agaricomycetidae dominated by corticioid forms". Mycologia. 102 (4): 865–880. doi:10.3852/09-288. PMID 20648753. 
  11. ^ a b Justo A, Vizzini A, Minnis AM, Menolli Jr N, Capelari M, Rodríguez O, Malysheva E, Contu M, Ghignone S, Hibbett DS (2011). "Phylogeny of the Pluteaceae (Agaricales, Basidiomycota): Taxonomy and character evolution". Fungal Biology. 115 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1016/j.funbio.2010.09.012. PMID 21215950. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Vesterholt J. (2012). "Melanoleuca". In Knudsen H. et al. (ed). Funga nordica: agaricoid, boletoid and cyphelloid genera (2nd ed.). Copenhagen: Nordsvamp. pp. 477–481. ISBN 9788798396130. 
  13. ^ a b Guzmán G. (1982). "New species of fungi form the Yucatan peninsula". Mycotaxon. 16 (1). 
  14. ^ a b Arora D. (1986). Mushrooms Demystified: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi (2nd ed.). Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-0898151695. 
  15. ^ a b Bessette AE, Fischer D, Bessette AR (1997). Mushrooms of northeastern North America (1st ed.). Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0815603887. 
  16. ^ Murrill WA. "Melanoleuca". North American Flora. 10: 3–32. 
  17. ^ Pfister J. (1984). "Etudes des types de Peck et de Murrill appartenant ou ayant appartenu au genre Melanoleuca". Mycotaxon (in French). 19: 101–132. 
  18. ^ Kirk P, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA (2008). Ainsworth & Bisby's dictionary of the fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford, Oxon, UK: CABI. ISBN 9780851998268. 
  19. ^ Gillman LS, Miller OK Jr (1977). "A study of the boreal, alpine, and arctic species of Melanoleuca". Mycologia. 69 (5): 927–951. doi:10.2307/3758777. 
  20. ^ a b Watling R, Turnbull E (1998). British fungus flora. Edinburgh: Royal Botanic Garden. ISBN 978-1872291826. 
  21. ^ Sánchez-García M, Cifuentes-Blanco J, Matheny B (2013). "Revisión taxonómica del género Melanoleuca en México y descripción de especies nuevas" (PDF). Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad (in Spanish). 84 (Suplemento-Micologia): 111–127. doi:10.7550/rmb.31569. 
  22. ^ Fontenla R, Gottadi M, Para R (2003). Osservazioni sul genere Melanoleuca. Fungi non deliniati. 25. Edizioni Candusso. 
  23. ^ Singer R, Digilio APL (1952). "Pródromo de la Flora Agaricina Argentina". Lilloa (in French). 25: 5–461. 

External links[edit]