Cantharellus cibarius is the type species of the fungi genus Cantharellus. Together with some other yellow chanterelles, Cantharellus cibarius has been recorded among the edible mushrooms sold in markets in China and is commonly referred to as Ji-You-Jun, meaning chicken fat, due to its yellow color. However, there's no morphological description or evidence available for the identified species.
"It becomes very important to confirm the species identity and carry out taxonomic re-evaluation of this fungi genus by using integrated taxonomic approaches," said Dr. SHAO Shicheng from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG).
Researchers at XTBG and their collaborators collected yellow chanterelles from various sites and markets in Guizhou, Jilin and Yunnan Provinces from 2007 to 2019 for morphological and molecular analysis. By using the maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods, they amplified the transcription elongation factor 1-alpha (tef-1α) gene with the primers tef1F and tef1R and analyzed the tef-1α sequences.
Morphological and molecular analysis confirmed that the edible yellow chanterelles commonly sold in the mushroom markets of Yunnan Province are not C. cibarius, but C. yunnanensis instead. The epithet "yunnanensis" refers to the distribution of these species in different areas of Yunnan Province, China.
Moreover, the researchers presented a new and accurate record of C. cibarius from the northeastern part in China based on morphological and molecular evidence. They thus confirmed that the distribution of C. cibarius is not restricted to northern Europe and America. The occurrence of C. cibarius in China is limited to Northern China.
Since C. cibarius and C. yunnanensis are very similar morphologically, it's difficult to identify them. The researchers proposed the general coloration as a key feature for identifying and delimiting both species: C. cibarius displays an orange-yellow to bright yel-low color and a plane pileus, while C. yunnanensis displays paler basidiomata and a convex pileus.
The study entitled "New insights into the taxonomy of the genus Cantharellus in China: epityfication of C. yunnanensis W.F. Chiu and the first record of C. cibarius Fr." has been published in Cryptogamie Mycologie.
Cantharellus cibarius (Image by WANG Xianghu)
Cantharellus yunnanensis (Image by SHAO Shicheng)
Edible yellow chanterelles commonly sold in mushroom markets of Yunnan (Image by WANG Xianghu)
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