Morels on the sand dunes of the Emilia-Romagna coast (Northwestern Adriatic Sea, Italy)

Martin Snabl, Urbano Guidori, Carmelo Gianchino, Mirco Iotti, Alessandra Zambonelli


Morchella species are known as famous and prized edible fungi due to their culinary flavor and medicinal properties. The asomata are collected throughout the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Morchella spp. taxonomy has long been debated as a result of the high phenotypic plasticity charaterizing the genus. Most morels are considered saprobic but some species has been reported to interact with roots of many plant species forming different types of associations. In Emilia-Romagna (Italy), morels became a part of the culinary tradition, especially for the populations of the coastal areas. This work aimed to describe and identify the ascomata collected on the white dune habitat as well as to verify the extent of the interaction with plant species growing in the same area. All ascomata collected since 2001 shared a similar morphology with a range of variability mainly due to the harvesting period. Ascomata collected in 2017 were grouped within the Mes-17 clade, in the Esculenta group, based on their ITS rDNA sequences. Nine different plant species were found to be connected with morel ascomata through characteristic sand-mycelial structures never described before. The amount of the ascomata collected on the sand dunes demonstrates that the study area is particularly suitable for morel fruiting. Therefore, the protection of the dune system is imperative for preserving Morchella genetic diversity within the local population.


Morchella vulgaris; Morchella esculenta; Morchella dunensis; white dunes; host plant

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2531-7342/9374


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