Mycological Progress

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 493–511 | Cite as

Lactifluus piperatus (Russulales, Basidiomycota) and allied species in Western Europe and a preliminary overview of the group worldwide

  • E. De CropEmail author
  • J. Nuytinck
  • K. Van de Putte
  • M. Lecomte
  • U. Eberhardt
  • A. Verbeken
Original Article


The large, white milkcaps of Lactifluus section Piperati are well known in the northern hemisphere. Historically, there was extensive debate about the number of European representatives and the diagnostic characteristics that delimit the species. Combining a morphological approach with a phylogenetic study, we aimed to resolve the problems in this section in Europe. Secondly, a molecular analysis of worldwide representatives of Lactifluus section Piperati was carried out, to verify whether there is intercontinental conspecificity. We compared nuclear ITS and LSU rDNA, nuclear protein-coding rpb2 and mitochondrial protein-coding atp6 genealogies to delimit species, using a concatenation of genes, along with Bayesian species delimitation for the European dataset. The phylogenetic analyses show the existence of two species in Europe: Lactifluus piperatus and Lactifluus glaucescens. Morphologically, the frequently used characteristics of the colouration of the latex and the macrochemical reactions of latex and context appear not to be useful as diagnostic characteristics to discriminate the species, but the microscopical characters of the pileipellis are informative. The preliminary overview of the section worldwide shows that it comprises at least 10 possible species divided over three clades, and that there is no intercontinental conspecificity.


Russulaceae Albati Lactarius Milkcaps Multiple gene phylogeny Bayesian species delimitation 



The first author is funded by the “Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds Ghent University” (BOF). The Bayesian analyses were carried out using the Stevin Supercomputer Infrastructure at Ghent University, funded by Ghent University, the Hercules Foundation and the Flemish Government – department EWI. We thank Omer Van de Kerckhove and Marina Triantafyllou for the helpful discussions concerning the European Piperati.


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Copyright information

© German Mycological Society and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. De Crop
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Nuytinck
    • 1
    • 2
  • K. Van de Putte
    • 1
  • M. Lecomte
    • 3
  • U. Eberhardt
    • 4
  • A. Verbeken
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Group Mycology, Department of BiologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.National Herbarium of the NetherlandsNaturalis Biodiversity CenterLeidenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.CogneléeBelgium
  4. 4.Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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