Identification of species within the boletoid genus Xerocomus has relied heavily upon the macromorphological features of the basidiomes. However, the phenotypic plasticity of these features has resulted in considerable confusion over the delimitation of taxa. In this study, we examined collections attributed to the X. subtomentosus complex in Europe using morphological and rDNA-ITS sequence data. In total, 45 European collections from a wide range of geographical areas and ecological conditions were included in the study. In spite of detecting considerable genetic variation, even within individual basidiomes of X. subtomentosus, molecular data, spore size, flesh colour, and the colour of the basal mycelium allow for the recognition of four distinct taxa: two correspond to X. subtomentosus (13 collections) and X. ferrugineus (20); one X. chrysonemus sp. nov. (10), to date only found in the UK, is described as new; and the existence of another taxon (two; Italy and UK) is noted but left undescribed owing to lack of material. Eight collections from North America were also included in the study, from which two taxa with a close affinity to X. ferrugineus were recognised. © 2005 The British Mycological Society.
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