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Hitherto unreported species of Ascomycetous Macrofungi of Kashmir Himalaya Abdul Rashid Malik1, Abdul Hamid Wani2, Bashir Ahmad Ganaie3, Zahoor A Bhat4 and Shazia Parveen5 1,2,4,5
Section of Mycology and Plant Pathology, Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, Hazaratbal, Srinagar – 190006, INDIA 3
Centre of Research for Development(CORD) University of Kashmir Srinagar, INDIA
ABSTRACT The Kashmir valley located in the north extreme of the India lies between 33º20’ and 34º54’ N latitude and 73º 55’and 75º35’ E longitude, constitutes more than 20% of forests of its geographical area that harbors diverse macro fungal species due to their wide variability in climate altitude and nature of species constituting them. The base line of mushroom flora is still in its infancy and has not been generated until now. In this backdrop, a systematic survey for exploration and documentation of macro fungal species of unexplored forests of Kupwara District of Northern Kashmir Himalaya was undertaken between September 2015 and August 2016. Five hitherto unreported species, viz. Disciotis vinosa, Gyrometra gigas, Gyrometra perlata, Helvella leucopus, and Geopyxis carbonaria of mushrooms belonging to Ascomycetes were recorded from the Kashmir Himalaya of the Jammu and Kashmir state. These species were identified on the basis of macro and microscopic characteristics and on the basis of field guides, mushroom herbaria and expert mushroom taxonomists.
Mushrooms belong to Kingdom fungi which constitute the most diverse group of organisms after insects on this biosphere. Several studies have focused on enumerating the world’s fungal diversity and the exact number of fungi on the earth has always been a point of discussion (Crous, 2006). Current studies estimate that out of 1.5 million species of fungi existing on this biosphere, 140,000 are considered as mushrooms, and only 10% (approximately 14000 named species) are known to scientific community (Hawksworth,2004; Chang and Miles, 2004; Mueller and Schmit, 2007 and Kirk et al., 2008). One third of this fungal diversity of globe exists in India of which only 50% has been characterized till now (Manoharachary et al., 2005).
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Jammu and Kashmir State, harbors a rich repository and diversity of flora of which mushrooms are least explored and is still in a pioneer stage (Watling and Abrahim, 1992). From time to time about 265 species of mushrooms have been reported from Kashmir Himalaya (Dar et al., 2009, 2010; Wani et al., 2010 and Pala et al., 2011). The Kashmir Himalayas still need exploration of mushroom flora as a vast area is unexplored for mushroom diversity. Northern part of Kashmir Himalaya is yet unexplored due to restricted access being a high security zone of the J&K and due to its farflungness; and is considered to possess a rich diversity of edible and inedible macro fungi in its lush green forests, majestic mountains and large meadows. With this objective a study was carried out in the forests of Kupwara district of Kashmir Himalaya to describe and identify status of ascomycetous mushroom flora. The study revealed the collection and identification of five species of macrofungi which is a new record from the Kashmir Himalaya.
2. MATERIALS AND METHODS Field trips were carried to different sampling sites of North Kashmir Himalaya like lolab, Qaziaabad, Bungus Valley, Karnah and Keran sectors, and Ramhal coniferous forests of Kupwara district (Fig. 1), at regular intervals to explore the mushroom flora belonging to Ascomycetes. The method given by Hailling, (1996) was followed for the field trips. Standard methods (Kumar et al., 1990; Atri et al., 2003) were followed for collection, preservation and for identification of mushrooms based on morphological, reproductive and other characters. Field notes were prepared with regard to habit and habitat, shape, size and colour of fresh specimen before preservation. Spore morphology (shape and size) was recorded and photographed with the aid of trinalocular microscope. Spore slides were prepared in 3% KOH, cotton blue, lactophenol and Melzer’s reagents. Photographs of the specimens in the natural habitat and under lab conditions were taken using Sony SLR Digital field camera and Sony cyber shot 12.1 megapixel Camera. The fungal specimen were also preserved in FAA (Formaldehyde acetic acid), and formalin and preserved in the mycological section of KASH herbarium, Centre of Plant Taxonomy, Division of Botany, University of Kashmir Hazratbal Srinagar, J&K, India.
3. RESULTS During survey of the different areas of Kupwara District of Northern Kashmir, five mushroom species belonging to Ascomycetes were collected from Kashmir Himalayan region and identified on the basis of morphological and reproductive and other characteristics. A brief description of these five species of mushrooms first time reported from the Kashmir Himalayan region is as under:
3.1.2 Description Fruiting Body: 4-10 cm across, more or less cup shaped when young becomes saucer shaped with age. Upper surface is brown, bald, and smooth at first but soon gets wrinkled in the centre. Undersurface is cream white rough or finely hairy, with a short pseudo- stem (1-2.5cm) buried in the soil. Flesh is brittle and brown in colour.Spores: Elliptical in shape, 22-24µ× 12µ in size, smooth with oil droplets. Asci 8- spored. No reaction with Meltzer's reagent and KI.Habit and Habitat: Ecto-mycorrhizal, gregarious or scattered in coniferous forests. Season:
4.2 Description Cap: 2-8 cm high; 2-4 cm wide; loosely wrinkled, bald; somewhat convoluted or slightly lobed, sometimes resembles dogs mouth; yellowish brown, or tan coloured; undersurface whitish, bald .Flesh, Whitish; brittle; Stem: 2-4 cm high; 2-3 cm wide; pale tan to white; sometimes developing broad ribs, attached centrally to the cap. Spores: 20-24 µ x 11.5-12 µ; ellipsoid; with short, blunt apiculi Asci 8-spored with two oil droplets. Clavate (club shaped) paraphysis. Habit and Habitat:
Saprophytic found under conifers preferably under shade.
Season: Early spring soon after melting of snow. Edibility:
Site of collection:
5 Gyrometra perlata (Fr.) Harmaja Synonyms:
Common name: Pigs ear, Local name:
5.1 Classification Kingdom:
5.2 Description Fruiting Body: 3-10 cm across, disc -shaped at first and then irregularly flattened at maturity with a rudimentary stem, 1.5-2cms wide, buried under soil, Upper surface wavy to wrinkled, brown to dark brown. Undersurface grayish brown or yellowish; bald or minutely hairy. Spores: Elleptical, 16-20x 10-12 µ; with 1-2 prominent oil droplets and pointed apiculi. Asci 8-spored . Habit and Habitat: On littered floor of coniferous forests with sufficient growth of moss plants. Season:
6.2 Description Fruting body: Urn shaped, crenate margins and growing under burn soil with mycorhizal association with spruce trees. Carpophore 1.0-2.5 cm broad, urn shaped, orange brown at both sides, deeply cupulate slightly expanded, margin pallid stipitate , fertile surface orange brown glabrous; stipe 1.5 cm long and 1-3.0mm wide. , straight to slightly curved, the surface dull-brown covered with a white tomentum. Spores: 14 µ -16 µ ×6-8µ, ellipsoid, smooth, thin walled, eguttulate, contents granular. Habitate: Gregarios to clustered on humus rich littered soil after forest fires under spruce trees in the spring just after snow melting. Habit and Habitat:
On coniferous forest floor with burn soil.
spring to early summer
Site of collection:
7 Helvella Leucopus Pers. Synonyms:
Helvella leucopus var. leucopus
Helvella leucopus var. populina I. Arroyo & Calonge Common name: Elfin Saddle,Darkies
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7.1 Classification Kingdom:
7.2 Description Fruiting body: Sporophore brown-black or chocolate brown, Cap 25-35 mm diam. and 17-40 mm high, saddleshaped, folded, with two to three distinct irregular lobes, the fertile area in between the folds. Stipe is dirty white, hollow, broader at the base. Cap and stipe are centrally connected. Ascus 8 spored. Ascospores 20-24 × 13-15 µ, ellipsoidal, thin-walled, hyaline, smooth, containing a large central lipid droplet surrounded by smaller ones, gelatinous sheath or appendages absent. Habit and Habitat:
On ground, mycorrhizal association with popular trees, edge of streams.
Edible prized for its texture and aroma. Eaten with eggs and onion
Site of collection:
Fig. (1) Fig.1: Map of the surveyed area of J&K-India
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Fig. (2) Fig. 2: Newly reported species of Ascomycetous fungi along with Asci and Ascospores.
(a) Disciotis vinosa,(b) D. vinosa: Ascus with 8 ascospores (c) Gyromitra gigas sporocarp (d) Ascus with ascospores and sterile hyphae, (e) Gyromitra perlata sporocarp. (f) Ascospores of G. perlata, (g) Geopyxis carbonaria sporocarp, (h) Asci with ascospores, (i) Helvella leucopus sporocarp.
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It was revealed from the results that five new species of Ascomycetous mushrooms, Geopyxis carbonaria, Gyromitra gigas, Gyromitra perlata, Helvella leucopus and Diciotis venosa were reported for the first time from the surveyed areas of Kashmir Himalaya. Similar species have been reported earlier by different workers from India and other parts of the world (Dennis, 1981, Breitenbach and Kranzlin, 1984; Arora 1986; Greene et al., 2010; Asef, 2017). Noticeable work has been done by several workers across the globe for the exploration of Ascomycetes (Kirk et al., 2008; Hawker,1968; Hawksworth, 1989; Barseghyan and Wasser, 2008, 2011; Abdel-Azeem and EL-Fallal, 2012). Several workers have reported the genus Helvella of the family Helvellaceae of Pezizales from Europe, North-America, China, Russia and Turkey (Anderson and Ickis, 1921; Dissing and Lange, 1967; Kempton and Wells 1970; Cao and Liu 1990). In 2010, four taxa of family pyronemataceae were described from China (Zhuang, 2010) as has been reported from the present study in Kashmir Himalaya. Similarly 11 species of Scutellinia were reported from Korea and 2 from Switzerland (Choi et al., 2012). In India the work on Ascomycetes with special reference to Pezizales has been undertaken by a number of workers from different regions including Western Himalaya (Kaul, 1971, 1981, Abraham, 1991, Kumar and Sharma, 2010 and Wani et al., 2010). In the present study a new species Helvella leucopus was reported, however, Kaul and Kachroo (1974) reported two Ascomycetous genera Morchella and Helvella which included H. crispa. Gyrometra gigas and Geopyxis carbonaria as reported in the present study area new records from Kashmir Himalaya, however Pala et al. (2011) has reported
sphaerospora and Mutinus caninus from southern Kashmir Himalaya. While reporting the mushroom species of Kashmir, Kaul (1981, 1997) included some ascomycetous macrofungi in his report like Morchella esculenta, M. deliciosa, M. hybrid, M.angusticeps, M. conic, M. crassipes, Phallus hadrianii and Helvella crispa. Similarly Dar et. al. (2009) reported some species of pezizales (Sepultaria summneriana, Paxina barlae, Peziza exogelatinosa and Tarzeta catinus) from Kashmir Himalaya and is a first report with regard to these species. Wani et al. (2010) has reported two species of Ascomycetous mushrooms (Sarcoscypha coccinea and Scutellinia scutellata) besides reporting some moral species from Kashmir Himalaya Wani et al. (2015). Sheikh et al. (2014) explored two new species of Ascomycetous macrofungi Peziza retrocurvata K. Hansen & Sandal and Xylaria polymorpha (Pers.) Grev from Jammu And Kashmir State. Exploration of many more species is required from the area owing to its virgin nature of biodiversity studies. The species reported in this study have ethno-medicinal use among the tribal people in the surveyed areas and are being evaluated for the presence of bioactive compounds and therapeutic potential.
10. Acknowledgement The authors are thankful to Head Department of Botany for providing necessary library and laboratory facilities. The corresponding author acknowledges the Teacher fellowship granted by UGC New Delhi.
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