Fungalpedia – Note 206, Melanoleuca


Melanoleuca Pat.   

Citation if using this entry: Bera et al. 2024 (in prep) – Fungalpedia, Basidiomycota 1. 

Index FungorumMycoBank, Facesoffungi, GenBank, Fig. 1

Classification: Incertae sedis, Agaricales, Agaricomycetes, Basidiomycota, Fungi

Melanoleuca was initially classified under the family Tricholomataceae R. Heim ex Pouzar (Pouzar 1983). Melanoleuca is characterized by a lack of distinctive features, with numerous species that exhibit macroscopic similarities, differing only in subtle characteristics such as colour, and odor of the basidiomata (Vizzini et al. 2011). It is well-known that morphological characteristics can be significantly impacted by environmental factors (Bon 1991Boekhout 1999Vizzini et al. 2011). However, the first infrageneric classification of Melanoleuca relied mostly on macromorphological features (Metrod 1942, 1948, Singer 1986Kuhner 1978Antonin et al. 2022). Bon (1978) first used a combination of both macro- and micromorphological characters for the classification of this genus (Antonin et al. 2022). Boekhout (1988) based on the cystidia presence and characters divided Melanoleuca into three subgenera: Melanoleuca subgen. Melanoleuca Pat., M. subgen. Urticocystis Boekhout, and M. subgen. Macrocystis Boekhout. The first molecular study on European species of this genus, was based on nrITS sequence data, revealing two distinct clades referring to the subgen. Urticocystis, including species with urticoid cystidia and subgen. Melanoleuca has species with macrocystidia (Vizzini et al. 2011). The systematic placement of this genus has been thoroughly investigated. In molecular studies (Matheny et al. 2006Garnia et al. 2007), Melanoleuca was reclassified under Pluteaceae Kotl. & Pouzar. (Antonin et al. 2022). 

He et al. (2019) transferred Melanoleuca to Incertae sedis, which is regarded as the current systematic position of the genus. The taxa under Melanoleuca are characterized by their typical tricholomatoid to collybioid basidiomata with umbonate, centrally depressed pileus (Kuhner 1978Singer 1986Boekhout 19881999Bon 1991Watling & Turnbull 1998Vizzini et al. 2011Antonin et al. 2022). The lamellae have adnate to decurrent attachment with stipe (Antonin et al. 2022). Microscopically, the pileipellis is of either cutis or trichoderm type (Antonin et al. 2022). The presence of hymenial cystidia on both lamellar edges and faces depends on the species (Vizzini et al. 2011Antonin et al. 2022). The ornamentations of the basidiospores show a positive amyloid reaction (Kuhner 1978Singer 1986Vizzini et al. 2011Antonin et al. 2022). Clamp connections on hyphae are not present in Melanoleuca (Kuhner 1978Singer 1986Antonin et al. 2022). This genus is an edible saprotrophic mushroom that grows on grasslands, sand dunes, and forest floors (Boekhout 1988). The database of Mycobank ( recorded around 333 Melanoleuca species worldwide. However, with progressive phylogenetic analysis, many well-known species have been synonimized under one name (Kalmer et al. 2018). Currently, approximately 60 species of Melanoleuca have been reported (Wijayawardene et al. 2022). 

Synonyms: Kinia Consiglio, Contu, Setti & Vizzini, Melaleuca Pat., Psammospora Fayod

Type species:  Melanoleuca melaleuca (Pers.) Murrill (≡ Melaleuca vulgaris Pat., Agaricus melaleucus Pers., Gyrophila melaleuca (Pers.) Quél.)

Other accepted species: (Species Fungorum – search Melanoleuca)




Figure 1 – Melanoleuca strictipes (BRNM 781384). a Basidiomata. b Basidiospores. c Basidia. d Hymenial cystidia. Scale bars: b = 10 μm, c & d = 20 μm. Taken from Amandeep et al. (2015).



Antonín V, Ďuriška O, Jančovičová S, Para R, et al. 2022 – Multilocus phylogeny and taxonomy of European Melanoleuca subgenus Melanoleuca. Mycologia, 114(1), 114–143

Boekhout T. 1988 – Notulae ad floram agaricinam neerlandicam—XVI. New taxa, new combinations in Melanoleuca Pat. and notes on rare species in the Netherlands. Persoonia-Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 13(4), 397–431

Boekhout T. 1999 – Melanoleuca. 153–165, in: C Bas et al. (eds). Flora Agaricina Neerlandica 4. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam

Bon M. 1978 – Tricholomataceae de France et d´Europe occidentale (Sous-famille Leucopaxilloidae (Singer) Bon). Documents Mycologiques, 9(33), 1–79. 

Bon M. 1991 – Flore mycologique d’Europe, 2 – Les Tricholomes et ressemblants. DocMycol.,Mém. hors-Sér., 2, ii, 163 pp

Garnica S, Weiss M, Walther G, Oberwinkler F. 2007 – Reconstructing the evolution of agarics from nuclear gene sequences and basidiospore ultrastructure. Mycological Research, 111(9), 1019–1029

He MQ, Zhao RL, Hyde KD, Begerow D, et al. 2019 – Notes, outline and divergence times of Basidiomycota. Fungal Diversity, 99, 105–367

Kalmer A, İsmail ACAR, Tekpinar AD. 2018 – Phylogeny of some Melanoleuca species (Fungi: Basidiomycota) in Turkey and identification of Melanoleuca angelesiana AH Sm. as a first record. Kastamonu University Journal of Forestry Faculty, 18(3), 314–326

Kuhner R. 1978 – Agaricales de la zone alpine. Genre Melanoleuca Pat. Bulletin de la Societe Linneenne de Lyon, 47, 12–52

Matheny PB, Curtis JM, Hofstetter V, Aime MC, et al. 2006 – Major clades of Agaricales: a multilocus phylogenetic overview. Mycologia, 98(6), 982–995

Metrod G. 1942 – Sur le genre Melanoleuca. Revue de Mycologie Supplementum, 7, 89–96.

Metrod G. 1948 – Essai sur le genre Melanoleuca Patouillard emend. Bulletin de la Societe mycologique de France, 64, 141–165.

Pouzar Z. 1983 – Taxonomic and nomenclatural notes on some families of larger fungi. Česka Mykologie, 37, 172–176

Singer R. 1986 – The Agaricales in modern taxonomy. 4th ed. Koenigstein, Germany: Koeltz Scientific Books. 981 pp

Vizzini A, Para R, Fontenla R, Ghignone S, Ercole E. 2011 – A preliminary ITS phylogeny of Melanoleuca (Agaricales), with special reference to European taxa. Mycotaxon, 118(1), 361–381

Watling R, Turnbull E. 1998 – Cantharellaceae, Gomphaceae and amyloid-spored and xeruloid members of Tricholomataceae (excl. Mycena). In: Henderson DM, Orton PD, Watling R, eds. British Fungus Flora, Agarics and Boleti 8. Edinburgh, UK: Royal Botanic Garden, 1–189.

Wijayawardene NN, Hyde KD, Dai DQ, Sánchez-García M, et al. 2022 – Outline of Fungi and fungus-like taxa–2021. Mycosphere, 13(1), 53–453.


Entry by

Ishika Bera, Center of Excellence in Fungal Research, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand


(Edited by Kevin D Hyde, Samaneh Chaharmiri-Dokhaharani, & Achala R. Rathnayaka)