MycoKeys 7: 23–30, doi: 10.3897/mycokeys.7.5182
Cortinarius bovarius (Agaricales), a new species from western North America
Kare Liimatainen 1, Tuula Niskanen 1
1 Department of Biosciences, Plant Biology, P.O. Box 65, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

Corresponding author: Kare Liimatainen (

Academic editor: I. Schmitt

received 21 March 2013 | accepted 30 April 2013 | Published 14 May 2013

(C) 2013 Kare Liimatainen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

For reference, use of the paginated PDF or printed version of this article is recommended.


Cortinarius bovarius sp. nov., a conifer associated taxon growing on calcareous ground, is described from western North America. Phylogenetic relationships and species limits were investigated using rDNA ITS and nuclear rpb2 sequences, morphological and ecological data. The species belongs to section Bovini and its closest relative is European Cortinarius bovinus.

Key words

ITS, MrBayes, rpb2, taxonomy, Telamonia


Cortinarius is the most species rich genus of the Agaricales with a worldwide distribution. Cortinarius species are important ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with different trees and shrubs belonging e.g. to the order Fagales and families Pinaceae and Salicaceae. Lately it has also been suggested that they have a key role in the carbon cycling of boreal forests (Bödeker et al. 2011).

In recent years there have been a number of publications on the taxonomy, evolution and biogeography of species found in North America (Seidl 2000, Moser and Peintner 2002, Matheny and Ammirati 2006, Garnica et al. 2009, 2011, Bojantchev 2011a, b, Bojantchev and Davis 2011, Harrower et al. 2011, Ammirati et al. 2012, 2013, Niskanen et al. 2012, 2013a, in press a). These studies show several patterns of species distributions. There are species common to North America and Europe, especially those species from more northern and montane conifer forests, i.e. Cortinarius aureofulvus M. M. Moser and Cortinarius napus Fr. There are also presumably endemic species in both Western North America, eastern North America and Europe, i.e. Cortinarius elegantio-occidentalis Garnica & Ammirati and Cortinarius californicus A.H. Sm. in western North America, Cortinarius hesleri Ammirati, Niskanen, Liimat. & Matheny in eastern North America, and Cortinarius puniceus P.D. Orton in Europe.

Niskanen et al. (in press b) studied Cortinarius bovinus Fr. and morphologically similar species occurring in boreal coniferous forests in rich forest soils in northern Europe. Seven species were recognized, all belonging to section Bovini (subgenus Telamonia). Four of them, Cortinarius bovinus Fr., Cortinarius bovinaster Niskanen, Kytöv. & Liimat., Cortinarius bovinatus Kytöv., Liimat., Niskanen & H. Lindstr., and Cortinarius oulankaënsis Kytöv., Niskanen, Liimat. & H. Lindstr., formed a well-supported (PP 1.00) clade inside sect. Bovini (Bovini s. str.). The species are characterized by brown to dark brown basidiomes without bluish colors and exsiccatae with a dark brown to blackish brown pileus. The universal veil is white, brownish white or grayish white, in some species becoming grayish brown with age, and the odor is indistinct or slightly raphanoid. To date, species are only known from Europe, except Cortinarius oulankaënsis which also occurs in Canada in British Columbia. By studying more material from western North America, we wanted to determine if Cortinarius bovinus found from Alaska, U.S.A. and Alberta, Canada is conspecific with European samples or does it represent an autonomous species.


Material gathered by the authors from North America was studied morphologically, ecologically and sequenced to infer phylogentic relationships with other species in Bovini. DNA was extracted from dried material (a piece of lamella) with the NucleoSpin Plant kit (Macherey-Nagel, Düren, Germany). Primers ITS 1F and ITS 4 (White et al. 1990, Gardes and Bruns 1993) were used to amplify ITS regions, and specific primers cort6F and b7.1R (Frøslev et al. 2005) for the rpb2 region. The same primer pairs were used in direct sequencing. PCR amplification and sequencing followed Niskanen et al. (2009). Sequences were assembled and edited with Sequencher 4.1 (Gene Codes, Ann Arbor, Mich., USA). Using a BLAST query of the public databases (GenBank: and UNITE: ), we checked if identical or similar sequences for our species exist in public databases. For the phylogenetic analysis ITS and rpb2 sequences of the species belonging to the well-supported ingroup of section Bovini, Cortinarius bovinus, Cortinarius bovinaster, Cortinarius bovinatus, and Cortinarius oulankaënsis, were included. Cortinarius anisatus, Cortinarius neofurvolaesus, and Cortinarius sordidemaculatus were chosen as outgroup species.

The combined ITS and rpb2 alignment of 11 specimens was produced with the program MUSCLE (Edgar 2004) under default settings. The alignment comprised 1286 nucleotides (including gaps). The alignment is available at TreeBASE under S14159 ( ).

Bayesian inference (BI) was performed with MrBayes 3.1.2 (Ronquist and Huelsenbeck 2003). The best substitution model for the alignment was estimated by both the Akaike information criterion and the Bayesian information criterion with jModelTest version 0.1.1 (Posada 2008). A GTR model, including a gamma shape parameter, was chosen for both DNA regions. Two independent runs with four chains in each were performed for 1 000 000 generations sampling every 100th generation. All trees sampled before stationarity were discarded with a 25% safety margin (burn-in of 2 500 trees [250 000 generations]). Sampled trees from both runs were combined in a 50% majority rule consensus phylogram and posterior probabilities (PP) were calculated. The analysis was run with computer clusters of the CSC, IT Center for Science, Espoo, Finland.

Morphological descriptions are based on material collected by the authors including specimens in all stages of development. Color notations in the description follow Munsell (2009) soil color charts. Microscopic characteristics were observed from dried material mounted in Melzer’s reagent (MLZ). Measurements were made in MLZ with an ocular micrometer using 100× oil-immersion lens. Basidiospores were measured from the veil or top of the stipe, 20 spores from one basidiocarp. The length and width were measured for each spore, and their length/width ratios (Q value) were calculated. The lamellar trama and basidia also were examined, and the pileipellis structure was studied from scalp sections taken from the pileus center.

Table 1.

Specimens included in DNA analysis. Sequences produced in this study marked in bold. For acronyms of biological provinces see e.g. Knudsen and Vesterholt 2008: Funga Nordica: 32–35. * = GenBank Accession Numbers

Species Voucher Herb Locality ITS* rpb2*
Cortinarius bovarius (type) 11-188 H U.S.A. Alaska, Fairbanks KC905156 KC905160
Cortinarius bovarius 11-255 H U.S.A. Alaska, Fairbanks KC905158 KC905162
Cortinarius bovarius 11-298 H Canada, Alberta, Hinton KC905157 KC905161
Cortinarius bovarius 11-373 H Canada, Alberta KC905159 KC905163
Cortinarius bovinaster (type) 04-669 H Finland, PeP, Ylitornio JX407264 JX407340
Cortinarius bovinatus 09-1520b H Finland, ES, Kerimäki JX407267 JX407341
Cortinarius bovinus 10-006 H Norway, Oppl, Lunner JX407282 JX407343
Cortinarius oulankaënsis 09-535 H Norway, NTr, Steinkjer JX407295 JX407345
Cortinarius anisatus 04-550 H Finland, PeP, Runteli DQ120754 JX407346
Cortinarius neofurvolaesus 04-001 H Finland, U, Helsinki DQ139997 JX407367
Cortinarius sordidemaculatus 04-003 H Finland, U, Kirkkonummi DQ139991 JX407368

The 50% majority rule phylogram resulting from the BI analysis is shown in Fig. 1. Cortinarius bovarius is supported as a new taxon (PP 1.00). It clusters together with Cortinarius bovinus (PP 0.90) but differs from it by at least 18 substitutions and indel positions in the ITS regions and 3 substitutions in the rpb2 region. The four ITS sequences of Cortinarius bovarius have altogether 1 base and 2 length intragenomic polymorphisms. No sequences of this species exist in public databases.

Figure 1.

The Bayesian 50% majority-rule consensus tree inferred from combined ITS and rpb2 regions. PP > 0.50 are indicated above branches.

Cortinarius bovarius Liimat. & Niskanen, sp. nov.

MycoBank MB804030

Figures 2 and 3

Basidiomata medium-sized to large, pileus reddish brown, smell in lamellae indistinct or slightly raphanoid. Universal veil at first white, becoming pale brown. Basidiospores 8.5–10 × 5.5–6(–6.5) μm, amygdaloid to weakly ellipsoid. In coniferous forests with Picea, on rich, calcareous ground. Belongs to sect. Bovini.


Pileus 3.5–7 cm diam., hemispherical at first, then low convex to almost plane, sometimes with a low, broad umbo, weakly fibrillose when young, later more apparent fibrillose only on the margin, somewhat waxy-glossy when moist; when young light reddish brown (5YR 6/4) to yellowish red (5YR 5/6-4/6) to reddish brown (2.5YR 5/4–4/4, 5YR 5/4–4/4), later dark red (2.5YR 3/6) to dark reddish brown (5YR 3/4–4/4, 2.5YR 3/3–3/4) and often with black spots; hygrophanous, soon drying from the center like Kuehneromyces mutabilis to lighter and more reddish brown, in dry condition reddish yellow (5YR 6/6, 7.5YR 7/6–6/6). Lamellae medium spaced to almost distant, adnexed to emarginate, fairly broad to broad, light reddish brown (5YR 6/4), light brown (7.5YR 6/3–6/4) to yellowish red (5YR 4/6), later dark reddish brown (2.5YR 3/4, 5YR 3/4–4/4), edge paler or concolorous. Stipe 5–11 cm long, 0.8–1.7 cm wide at apex, 1–3.5 cm wide at base, clavate to almost bulbose, rarely cylindrical, grayish white (silky) fibrillose, soon light reddish brown (5YR 6/3–6/4) to reddish brown (5YR 5/4) when older. Universal veil at first white, becoming pale brown, forming a girdle and thin sock-like sheath or rarely incomplete girdles on stipe surface, almost completely lost with age. Basal mycelium white. Context marbled hygrophanous, in pileus and upper part of the stipe light reddish brown (5YR 6/3–6/4) to reddish brown (5YR 4/4, 5/3), darkening towards the base of the stipe, in base reddish brown (5YR 5/3) when young, dark reddish brown (2.5YR 3/4 to 5YR 3/3–3/4) when old. Odor indistinct or slightly raphanoid. Exsiccatae: pileus brown (7.5YR 4/2–4/3) to dark brown (7.5YR 3/2–3/3), sometimes with a black center; stipe very pale brown (10YR 8/2) to light gray (10YR 7/2), in older basidiomes often darker, from grayish brown (10YR 5/2) to dark brown (10YR 4/2).

Basidiospores8.5–10 × 5.5–6(–6.5) μm, Q = 1.45–1.65, av. = 8.9–9.5 × 5.7–6.1 μm, Qav. = 1.49–1.62 (80 spores, 4 specimens, Fig. 3), amygdaloid to weakly ellipsoid, moderately verrucose, somewhat more strongly so at the apex, moderately dextrinoid. Lamellar trama hyphae smooth to very finely scabrous, sometimes with sepia colored spots. Basidia4-spored, 30–40 × 7.5–9.5 μm, almost concolorous with the background to olivaceous brownish.Pileipellis duplex, epicutis thin, hyphae 3–9 μm wide, unevenly pale brown, pigment in granules or in walls of hyphae, hypoderm distinct, elements 30–55 × 15–25(–30) μm, hyaline and smooth. Clamp connections present.

Figure 2.

Photo of Cortinarius bovarius 11-188 (H). Photograph by K. Liimatainen.

Figure 3.

Spores of Cortinarius bovarius 11-188 (H) in Melzer’s reagent. Drawing by T. Niskanen.

Ecology and distribution.

In mesic coniferous forests with Picea, on rich, calcareous soil. Known from U.S.A, Alaska and Canada, Alberta. Fruiting from late August to September.


bovarius for its affinity to Cortinarius bovinus.


U.S.A. Alaska: Fairbanks, University campus NW, trails starting from the end of Yukon road, mesic, mossy, partly needle/leaf covered Picea dominated forest with some Populus, Betula, Alnus and Salix, on rich ground, 64°51'33"N, 147°49'29"W, 22 Aug 2011, Niskanen & Liimatainen 11-188 (H, holotype; NY, isotype). GenBank no. KC905156 (ITS), KC905160 (rpb2).

Other specimens examined.

Canada, Alberta, Hinton, S of center, Road to Percotte Creek, old mossy Picea dominated forest with some Populus, on calcareous ground, 53°21'53"N, 117°33'29"W, 30 Aug 2011, Liimatainen & Niskanen 11-298 (H). Alberta, Hinton, N of Athabasca river, Populus dominated forest with some Picea, 53°22'48"N, 117°51'35"W, 1040 m a.s.l., 5 Sept 2011, leg. L. Gagnon, Niskanen 11-373 (H). U.S.A. Alaska, Fairbanks, Wedgewood Resort trails, mesic Picea dominated forest with some Betula and Populus, on calcareous ground, 64°51'41"N, 147°42'46"W, 25 Aug 2011, Liimatainen & Niskanen 11-255 (H).


Cortinarius bovarius is a typical member of section Bovini, a brown species with at first a white universal veil that later becomes brownish, indistinct or slightly raphanoid smell, and occurrence on calcareous ground. It differs from its European sister species, Cortinarius bovinus, by on average narrower, less dextrinoid and less verrucose spores (those of Cortinarius bovinus on average 6.1–6.4 μm wide, fairly strongly to strongly verrucose at the apex, and fairly strongly dextrinoid). The other known species of section Bovini s. str. from western North America, Cortinarius oulankaënsis, has a more grayish brown pileus, more distant lamellae, and relatively narrower spores (Qav. = 1.61–1.65). Cortinarius bovarius is a well-defined species based on morphology and molecular data, and therefore, is here describe as new to science.


We are grateful to Martin Osis for the hospitality and all the help he provided to us during our field work in Alberta. We thank Gary Laursen for providing information on collections sites in Fairbanks. Lorraine Gagnon is thanked for collecting Cortinarius bovarius during the Alberta Mycological Society’s foray. Finally we thank both referees for their helpful comments and suggestions. This work was supported by the Academy of Finland (project # 129052).

Ammirati JF, Barlow TE, Seidl MT, Ceska O, Berbee ML, Harrower E, Liimatainen K (2012) Cortinarius parkeri, a new species from the Pacific Northwest of North America. Botany 90: 327-335. doi: 10.1139/B2012-003
Ammirati JF, Liimatainen K, Niskanen T, Hughes KW, Matheny PB (2013) Cortinarius hesleri from eastern North America and related species from Europe and western North American. Botany 91: 91-98. doi: 10.1139/cjb-2012-0154
Bojantchev D (2011a) Cortinarius callimorphus, a new species from northern California. Mycotaxon 117: 1–8. doi: 10.5248/117.1
Bojantchev D (2011b) Cortinarius mikedavisii sp. nov. from northern California. Mycotaxon 118: 265–272. doi: 10.5248/118.265
Bojantchev D, Davis RM (2011) Cortinarius xanthodryophilus sp. nov. – a common Phlegmacium under oaks in California. Mycotaxon 116: 317–328. doi: 10.5248/116.317
Bödeker I, Clemmensen K, de Boer W, Olson Å, Lindahl B (2011) Fungal peroxidases and soil organic matter decomposition: Are ectomycorrhizal Cortinarius species the key players? p. 11 In: MSA abstracts. Inoculum 62 (3): 7-49.
Edgar RC (2004) MUSCLE: multiple sequence alignment with high accuracy and high throughput. Nucleic Acids Research 32: 1792-1797. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkh340
Frøslev TG, Matheny PB, Hibbett D (2005) Lower level relationships in the mushroom genus Cortinarius (Basidiomycota, Agaricales): a comparison of RBP1, RPB2 and ITS phylogenies. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 602-618. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2005.06.016
Gardes M, Bruns TD (1993) ITS primers with enhanced specifity for basidiomycetes. Application to the identification of mycorrhizae and rusts. Molecular Ecology 2: 113-118. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.1993.tb00005.x
Garnica S, Weiß M, Oertel B, Ammirati J, Oberwinkler F (2009) Phylogenetic relationships in Cortinarius, section Calochroi, inferred from nuclear DNA sequences. BMC Evolutionary Biology 9:1. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-9-1
Garnica S, Spahn P, Oertel B, Ammirati J, Oberwinkler F (2011). Tracking the evolutionary history of Cortinarius species in section Calochroi, with transoceanic disjunct distributions. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 213. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-11-213
Harrower E, Ammirati JF, Cappuccino AA, Ceska O, Kranabetter JM, Kroeger P, Lim S, Taylor T, Berbee ML (2011) Cortinarius species diversity in British Columbia and molecular phylogenetic comparison with European specimen sequences. Botany 89: 799-810. doi: 10.1139/b11-065
Matheny PB, Ammirati, JF (2006) Cortinarius lucorum (Fr.) Karst., a Populus associate from North America. Pacific Northwest Fungi 1(4): 1–10. doi: 10.2509/pnwf.2006.001.004
Moser M, Peintner U (2002) The species complex Cortinarius scaurusCortinarius herpeticus based on morphological and molecular data. Micologia e Vegetation Mediterranea 17 (1): 3-17.
Munsell (2009) Munsell Soil Color Charts. Munsell Color, Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.
Niskanen T, Kytövuori I, Liimatainen K (2009) Cortinarius sect. Brunnei (Basidiomycota, Agaricales) in North Europe. Mycological Research 113: 182-206. doi: 10.1016/j.mycres.2008.10.006
Niskanen T, Liimatainen K, Kytövuori I, Ammirati JF (2012) New Cortinarius species from conifer dominated forests of North America and Europe. Botany 90: 743-754. doi: 10.1139/B2012-038
Niskanen T, Liimatainen K, Ammirati JF, Hughes K (2013a) Cortinarius section Sanguinei in North America. Mycologia 105 (2): 344-356. doi: 10.3852/12-086
Niskanen T, Liimatainen K, Ammirati JF (in press a) Five new Telamonia species (Cortinarius, Agaricales) from western North America. Botany.
Niskanen T, Kytövuori I, Liimatainen K, Lindström H (in press b) Cortinarius section Bovini (Agaricales, Basidiomycota) in northern Europe, conifer associated species. Mycologia.
Posada D (2008) jModelTest: phylogenetic model averaging. Molecular Biology and Evolution 25: 1253-1256. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msn083
Ronquist F, Huelsenbeck JP (2003) MRBAYES 3: Bayesian phylogenetic inference under mixed models. Bioinformatics 19: 1572-1574. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btg180
Seidl M (2000) Phylogenetic Relationships within Cortinarius Subgenus Myxacium, Sections Defibulati and Myxacium. Mycologia 92: 1091-1102. doi: 10.2307/3761477
White TJ, Bruns T, Lee S, Taylor J (1990) Amplification and direct sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA genes for phylogenetics. In: Michael AJ, Gelfand DH, Sninsky JJ, White TJ (Eds). PCR protocols: a guide to the methods and applications. Academic Press, New York: 315-322.