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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Albatrellaceae of the PNW
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to Albatrellus s.l.


Albatrellus was a genus of

  • stemmed polypores
  • large, thick-fleshed and relatively soft compared to most 'polypores' (monomitic - soft enough to eat when cooked)
  • found on the ground, not on wood, almost always under conifers (but not exclusively)
  • with a usually  white pore surface (sometimes blue)

Exceptions are the felty brown capped and iodine smelling Jahnoporus and the blackening Boletopsis, which are not related, and the somewhat related Bondarzewia, which is often but not always found on wood. Another important exception is Albatrellus syringae, now known as Xanthoporus syringae, with a brown cap and yellow pores. It was thought to be an Albatrellus (because it really does seem like one) but DNA studies showed that it was not in the Russulales at all, but found with most other polypores in the Polyporales.

The genus was split up recently into a number of new genera, but that is problematic. It's very difficult to tell the genera apart without learning each species and memorizing which genus it is. Ideally, a genus would be easy to recognize on sight without microscopic characters being necessary to differentiate them. The alternative, to continue to call them all Albatrellus, is not very problematic. The genetic group that includes all of Albatrellus also includes Polyporoletus, which is already difficult to differentiate from Albatrellus, a pored crust, Byssoporia, and some false truffles, Fevansia, Mycolevis, Leucophleps and Leucogaster. It's already very common for crusts and truffle-like fungi to be placed into the genus of the more "normal" looking mushrooms they are closely related to.

Here are all the species of Albatrellus sensu lato (s.l.), meaning Albatrellus considered in its "wide sense", except for Xanthoporus (Albatrellus) syringae, which turned out to be no kind of Albatrellus at all. That is found in the Polyporales and can definitely no longer be thought of as an Albatrellus.

Fevansia - a pale pinkish orange underground false truffle with a sticky mass inside filled with locules that is in this family.

abundant common uncommon rare - colour codes match my Pictorial Key and are my opinions and probably reflect my bias of living in W WA. Rare species may be locally common in certain places at certain times.

Albatrellus s.l. - click to expand

Species mentioned: Albatrellus ovinus, avellaneus, subrubescens. Albatrellopsis confluens, flettii. Neoalbatrellus subcaeruleoporus. Scutiger ellisii, pes-caprae. Xeroceps skamania. Xanthoporus syringae. Polypus dispansus. Polyporoletus sylvestris, sublividus, bulbosus.

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