New Reports, phylogenetic analysis, and a key to Lactarius Pers. in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem informed by molecular data
Cripps, Cathy L.
Barge, Edward G.
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The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), located in the Central Rocky Mountains of western North America, is one of the largest nearly intact temperate-zone ecosystems on Earth. Here, Lactarius is an important component of ectomycorrhizal communities in many habitat types, from low elevation riparian areas to high elevation conifer forests and alpine tundra. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of ITS and RPB2gene sequences along with detailed morphological examination confirm at least 20 Lactarius species, as well as three varieties, and one unresolved species group in the GYE. Eight taxa are reported from the GYE for the first time, and nearly every major ectomycorrhizal host plant in the GYE appears to have at least one Lactarius species associated with it. Broad intercontinental distributions are suggested for alpine Salix and Betula associates, and for certain subalpine Picea and aspen (Populus spp.) associates. Some species appear to be restricted to western North America with Pinus, Pseudotsuga or Abies. The distribution and/or host affinities of others is not clear due in part to ambiguous host assignment, taxonomic problems or the relative rarity with which they have been reported.