Interesting Sequences

Maybe a Sarcodon?

Sometimes the DNA results are surprising to what they match as in the case of Melodie's H. reidii, while at other times we get a DNA match to hardly anything and wonder what the DNA is now trying to tell us. From high in foothills of the Olympics on the Wynoochee Pass Trail, Regina found the interesting tooth fungi pictured here. Regina thought maybe Sarcodon calvcatus but a DNA match to the closest of that species was a dismal 83.08% (66% qc). Remembering that a good number to start thinking species separation is 97% - so at 83% this is clearly a different species. When we do a blast in GenBank, which compares Regina's sequence to all others in this huge database, there are only two matches worth considering. The only really close match is to a fungi from China at 99.1% (99%qc) which is listed as a Sarcodon but with no species name. The second closest match is to maybe a mushroom from Scotland. This one has no species name attached either so likely these three belong to a new undescribed and unnamed species. One from Urumqi China, one from Scotland and now a third form Wynoochee Pass in the Olympics! How crazy is that that these three far flung mushrooms are so closely related - but not to anything else? Great discovery by Regina.

Hygrocybe reidii

Melodie Gates of SSMC found the first example of this mushroom in Washington State during an early Evergreen MP foray - actually likely to be the first confirmed observation this side of the Mississippi River! A second 100% match to Melodie's find was later sequenced also by the SSMC. The second sequence from a very different location and habitat as it was taken from the Olympic Mountains old growth forest. This second mushroom was also a fascinating surprise. The fact that these two sequences expands the range of this species by half a continent is surprising enough, but there is more to the story about Melodie's find; the mushrooms from the PNW match up closest with European H. reidii. Sequences from Wales and Norway are virtually a perfect match while matches to eastern NA are more distant. None of the field guides from western US have this species even listed so it likely very rare here. Usually with an ID characteristic of the sweet smell of honey. Unknown edibility.