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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
IF: 1.423 5-Year IF: 1.525 SJR: 0.433 SNIP: 0.661 CiteScore™: 1.38

ISSN Print: 1521-9437
ISSN Online: 1940-4344

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v9.i1.100
pages 79-84

Inclusive and Exclusive Concepts of Agaricus subrufescens Peck: A Reply to Wasser et al.

Richard W. Kerrigan
Sylvan Research, 198 Nolte Dr., Kittanning, PA 16201, USA


Agaricus subrufescens, described from New York, USA, by Peck in 1893, has been interpreted narrowly by some authors (Wasser et al.) and more broadly by others (Kerrigan). DNA sequence similarities between A. subrufescens and the recently named species A. rufotegulis and A. brasiliensis are great, indicating a close, intraspecific relationship, as is found within other well-known species of Agaricus. Single-spore progeny of A. subrufescens from North America and another strain from Brazil (by way of Japan) can mate to produce fertile offspring. Overall, basidiomata from the Americas, Europe, and Hawaii share a similar, recognizable aspect, with variation in some characteristics—for example, Hawaiian specimens are relatively more gracile. Whether such population-level variation is sufficient to merit taxonomic recognition, and if so, at what taxon rank, is a matter of opinion rather than proof. Only customary practice provides guidance, whereas prudence favors a synthesis of all lines of evidence. The author presents arguments for treating A. subrufescens as a single phylogenetic species within which some regional and other morphological variation occurs. This is a traditional, conservative approach toward interpreting the relationships among these mushrooms.

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