In the course of the present study, surveys on occurrence and distribution of ectomycorrhizal (EcM) fungi in tropical sal forests of foothills of the Himalayas, India, were undertaken. The species of two genera of agarics, namely Asproinocybe and Inocybe, were found organically associated with the roots of Shorea robusta (sal tree). However, prior to our study the genus Asproinocybe has not been reported from India. In this article, the morpho-anatomical details of mycorrhizal roots of Shorea robusta associated with Asproinocybe lactifera and Inocybe purpureoflavida are provided for the first time. The EcM colonized roots of the two species are distinguished by differences in the shape and colour of the roots, surface texture, size and shape of cystidia, type of mantle, as well as different chemical reactions. Asproinocybe lactifera EcM is mainly characterised by a monopodial pinnate mycorrhizal system with the dark brown to reddish brown and loose cottony surface, while in Inocybe purpureoflavida it is irregularly pinnate to coralloid, silvery grey to reddish brown, with densely woolly surface. The outer mantle layer is heterogeneous with obclavate to awl-shaped cystidia in Asproinocybe lactifera, whereas Inocybe purpureoflavida EcM have a plectenchymatous outer mantle with subcylindrical to obclavate metuloidal and non-metuloidal cystidia. The presence of lactifers in the mantle is a unique feature in Asproinocybe lactifera as compared to Inocybe purpureoflavida.
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