Rhizopogon

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Abstract

Rhizopogon is the largest genus of hypogeous Basidiomycota, with worldwide distribution among Pinaceae. Several Rhizopogon species are important members of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal communities, contributing significantly to sporocarp productivity and ECM dominance. They occur in young and old forest stands alike and in diverse habitats. This ecological amplitude was recognized early in the twentieth century when Rhizopogon species were observed as dominant ECM fungi on Pinus in exotic plantations. Consequently, Rhizopogon has been the focus of considerable application research in forestry. The ease of culturing from sporocarps, manipulation of pure cultures of Rhizopogon and practical use of spore inoculation has made Rhizopogon a model genus to explore morphological, physiological, ecological, and symbiotic mutualisms of ECM. Nearly 200 papers have been published on Rhizopogon taxonomy, host range and specificity, ECM morphology, distribution, ecology, physiology, and applications in forestry.