Laccaria bicolor

In 2008, Laccaria bicolor (Maire) P.D. Orton was the first gilled mushroom to have its entire genome sequenced. Sequencing showed that the fungus was releasing small effector-type proteins, likely prompting the reorganization of tree root cells (Martin et al. 2008).

It has since served as a model ectomycorrhizal species seen in association with pine, fir, birch, and poplar trees. To this day, it is commonly added to the soil in tree nurseries to boost seedling growth (Watkinson et al. 2015).

L. bicolor can be found in western North American and around the Great Lakes. The mushroom has a tan cap, convex to flat, measuring 1-7 cm in diameter, and a stem 3-10 centimeters long. The attached lilac gills and basal mycelium are characteristic of the species, but can sometimes fade to white and make older specimens difficult to identify (Kuo 2010).


Figure 1. Dysmorphic Laccaria bicolor (should be nearly flat). It is possible that the specimens in this area were lacking nutrients or infected with a virus.


Figure 2. Pine forest in which the specimen was collected.

The spores are white, broadly elliptical, and measure 7-9 by 6-8 micrometers. The spines can be difficult to see, measuring about 1 micrometer long (Kuo 2010).


Figure 3. Spore print of L. bicolor.


Figure 4. Spores of L. bicolor.











Kuo, M. (2010, December). Laccaria bicolor. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site:

Martin, F., Aerts, A., Ahrén, D., Brun, A., Danchin, E. G. J., Duchaussoy, F., … & Salamov, A. (2008). The genome of Laccaria bicolor provides insights into mycorrhizal symbiosis. Nature452(7183), 88.

Watkinson, S. C., Boddy, L., & Money, N. (2015). The fungi. Academic Press.


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