Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria discovers new species of fungi - Pseudobaeospora taluna

A recent investigation of collections of fungi Pseudobaeospora in Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s National Herbarium of Victoria has resulted in characterisation of the new species, Pseudobaeospora taluna.

Pseudobaeospora is a rarely encountered mushroom genus. There are no veils and so the whole sporing body is of rather simple construction. Different species in the genus look rather similar in the field, often greyish.

Pseudobaeospora taluna is the only named species in the genus confirmed from Australia at present – because P. lamingtonensis, described several decades ago from Queensland, in fact belongs in the family Agaricaceae.

The species name taluna was chosen with the agreement of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the palawa kani Language Program. In palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines, taluna is the name of the Huon River, the area where the type specimens (that is the anchor for the name) was collected.

The research was led by Samuel Craig, holder of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s Jim Willis Studentship, who collaborated with Luke Vaughan, Gareth Holmes and Principal Reseach Scientist Dr Tom May. Mr Vaughan produced thin sections of the sporing bodies and Mr Holmes obtained DNA sequences. The combination of information from micro-morphology and DNA sequences allowed the new species to be distinguished from several other species of Pseudobaeospora yet to be formally described from Australia.

‘I have always been curious about the species around me. The studentship has equipped me with invaluable new skills for documenting and recognising fungi,’ said Mr Craig.

According to Dr May ‘there are thousands of species of Australian fungi awaiting formal naming and many are already collected and held in fungaria’. He said, ‘Naming species opens doors. Once a species is named, we can work on its biology and ecology in a repeatable manner’.

The new species was described in Australian Journal of Taxonomy, a new online journal devoted to new species of Australian animals, fungi and plants.

Paper title: Craig, S., Vaughan, L.J., Holmes, G.D. & May, T.W. (2023). Pseudobaeospora taluna (Fungi: Agaricales) newly described from southern Australia. Australian Journal of Taxonomy 24: 1–16.

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Image captions:

  1. Pseudobaeospora taluna. Photo credit: Noah Siegel.
  2. Cross section of pileus surface of Pseudobaeospora taluna highly magnified showing green reaction in alkal