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Description of a yellow morel from Egypt using morphological and molecular tools

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Morchella galilaea is a yellow morel recently separated from the Morchella esculenta group and characterized by fruiting in autumn. It was reported in some Mediterranean and African countries but not in Egypt. Moreover, only very little information is available on its ecology. The Egyptian morel ascocarps were found and collected from fruit farms at El-Sinania (Damietta) during autumn of 2013–2016. The taxonomic identity of the species was established using morphological and molecular tools. The ascocarps were identified based on morphology as a Morchella sp. related to the M. esculenta clade. The morel had a characteristic large, conical pileus with deep wide and irregu- lar pits. The stalk was hollow, with shallow ridges at the base and creamy to orange stain. Cylindrical and hyaline asci with eight elliptical, rough-walled ascospores and cylindric to subclavate short paraphyses were observed with electron microscopy. Due to the polymorphic nature and plasticity of Morchella ascocarps, molecular analysis of the current Morchella was used for accurate classification and identification. Genetic analysis of three DNA loci [internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, large subunit LSU (28S) gene and translation elongation factor gene (EF1-α)] confirmed the identity as member of the M. galilaea group with few differences in morphology. The natural morel-bearing site was characterized by sandy loam soil rich with humus, an average temperature of 10–20 °C, and pH of 7.04. This study is the first description of a yellow morel belonging to the M. galilaea group from Egypt with extensive characterization of morphology, habitat and molecular phylogeny.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2019

This article was made available online on May 20, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Description of a yellow morel from Egypt using morphological and molecular tools".

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  • Nova Hedwigia is an international journal publishing original, peer-reviewed papers on current issues of taxonomy, morphology, ultrastructure and ecology of all groups of cryptogamic plants, including cyanophytes/cyanobacteria and fungi. The half-tone plates in Nova Hedwigia are known for their high quality, which makes them especially suitable for the reproduction of photomicrographs and scanning and transmission electron micrographs.
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