Collection location: Lower Trenta Valley, East Julian Alps, Posočje, Slovenia [Click for map]
Habitat: mixed wood, Picea abies and Fagus sylvatica dominant; moderately steep mountain slope, northwest aspect; calcareous ground; in shade, relatively cool place; partly protected from direct rain by tree canopies; average precipitations ~ 3.000 mm/year, average temperature 4-6 deg C, elevation 945 m (3.100 feet), alpine phytogeographical region.
Substratum: Hymenium of Fomitopsis pinicola lying on ground, originally growing on Picea abies (part of its bark still attached to the pileus), pileus dimensions 12 cm x 8 cm, 6 cm thick.
Place: Spodnja Trenta, next to the trail from Lower Trenta village to Planina Lepoč, at about halfway from planina Krotica to Lepoč, East Julian Alps, Posočje, Slovenia EC.
Comments: Following Breitenbach (1984) three species of genera Protocrea and Hypocrea appear to have similar habitus to this find. Yellow Hypocrea citrina grows on stumps and ground. Hypocrea pulvinata is deep ochre-yellow (orange on the picture) and can be found on hymenium of Piptoporus betulinus and rarely on Leatiporus sulfureus and also on other polypores according to Winter (1887). But it has shorter asci (60-70 microns) than this find and it grows in summer. The third species described in Breitenbach (1984) Protocrea farinosa is an all year species and grows on polypores and wood stumps. Picture of its habitus published roughly corresponds to this observation. So do spores and asci. Stoma is whitish and farinose (a characteristic trait of genus Protocrea), perithecia are yellowish. SP was yellowish. All this eventually fit to Prococrea farinosa.
In 2008 Jaklitsch et all. (2008) (Ref.:3) the genus Protocrea was radically redefined based on morphology of teleomorph and anamorph and phylogenetic analyses. Several changes on genera and species levels occurred. For Hypocrea farinosa sensu auct. the new species H. decipiens was proposed. Hypocrea pallida (closely related to Protocrea farinosa, morphologically and by habit) was recognized as a species of genus Protocrea. DNA sequencing data suggested the existence of three well defined and three still unnamed species in this genus. Following the key given in this reference this find still seems to be Protocrea farinosa.
What puzzles me is that in Jaklitsch et all. (2008) as substrate Skeletocutis spp., particularly S. nivea and occasionally other polypores e.g. Bjerkandera and Trametes are given. Fomitopsis pinicula is not mentioned. Also peritecia of this find seem to be too vividly yellow compared to the pictures published in this reference. The color of perithecia seems closer to the pictures of Protocrea pallida (Ellis & Everh.) Jaklitsch, K. Põldmaa & Samuels, comb. nov. Also asci dimensions of Protocrea pallida ( (59–)70 – 86(−98) × (3.0–)3.7–4.3(−5.0) μm) fit well to this observation. Spore dimensions are hardly of any use in discrimination among these species, since they are of similar dimensions. Because I didn’t find anamorph, made no cultures and because of limited microscopy my determination is not reliable. The find could eventually be Protocrea pallida too. Former Protocrea farinosa, now Hyporcea decipiens (Jaklitsch, K. Põldmaa & Samuels, sp. nov.) seems macroscopically different and also has shorter asci ( (57–)65–73(−76) × (3.0–)3.5–4.5 μm).
Nikon D700/Nikkor Micro 105mm/f2.8
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