, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 381-395

An overview of Cistus ectomycorrhizal fungi

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Abstract

The genus Cistus comprises a group of about 20 shrub species found in wide areas throughout the whole Mediterranean region to the Caucasus. Being one of the main constituents of the Mediterranean-type maquis, this plant genus is peculiar in that it has developed a range of specific adaptations to resist summer drought and frequent disturbance events, such as fire and grazing. In addition, it can form both ectomycorrhizas and arbuscular mycorrhizas. In this paper, we review the information available on the ectomycorrhizal fungi of Cistus across its entire geographic range, as gathered and critically sifted from both published literature sources and personal observations. Although the resulting data matrix was based primarily on accounts of sporocarp inventories in the field, existing knowledge on the features of Cistus natural and synthesized ectomycorrhizas was also included and discussed. In total, more than 200 fungal species belonging to 40 genera have been reported so far to be associated with Cistus. An analysis of the pattern of ectomycorrhizal diversity and host specificity revealed that members of the Cortinariaceae and Russulaceae make the most of both Cistus-aspecific and Cistus-specific mycobionts. Further studies are needed to expand our preliminary knowledge of the mycorrhizal ecology and biology of Cistus and its fungal associates, focusing on topics such as mycobiont diversity, host specificity, fungal succession, mycorrhizal influence on stress tolerance, and impact of disturbances, while comparing the findings with those from other ecosystems.