Tuber brennemanii and Tuber floridanum: two new Tuber species are among the most commonly detected ectomycorrhizal taxa within commercial pecan (Carya illinoinensis) orchards.
Truffles are sequestrate hypogeous fungi, and most form ectomycorrhizal (ECM) associations with trees. Truffles belonging to the genus Tuber (Pezizales, Ascomycota), "true truffles," associate with diverse plant hosts, including economically important species such as pecan (Carya illinoinensis). Morphological and phylogenetic studies delimited several major lineages of Tuber, which include many cryptic and undescribed species. One of these, the Maculatum clade, is a speciose group characterized by relatively small, light-colored ascomata that have alveolate-reticulate spores. Here, we describe two new species in the Maculatum clade, Tuber brennemanii and T. floridanum (previously identified as Tuber sp. 36 and Tuber sp. 47). We delineate these two species by phylogenetic analyses of nuc ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 (=ITS) and partial 28S rDNA (=LSU), and through morphological analysis. A recent collection of T. floridanum from a pecan orchard in Brazil indicates that this species was introduced there on the roots of pecan seedlings. Systematic studies of ascomata and ECM fungal communities indicate that these species are geographically widespread and common ECM symbionts of pecans and other members of the Fagales, particularly in sites with disturbed soils and nutrient enrichment.