African Journal of
Plant Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Plant Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0824
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 731

Full Length Research Paper

New records of basidiomycetous macrofugi from Kurdistan region - Northern Iraq

Sara Q. Suliaman
  • Sara Q. Suliaman
  • Department of Biology, College of Sciences, Tikrit University, Tikrit, Iraq
  • Google Scholar
Talib O. AL- Khesraji
  • Talib O. AL- Khesraji
  • Department of Biology, College of Education for Pure Sciences, Tikrit University, Tikrit, Iraq
  • Google Scholar
Abdullah A. Hassan
  • Abdullah A. Hassan
  • Department of Protection, College of Agriculture, Tikrit University, Tikrit, Iraq
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 07 March 2017
  •  Accepted: 15 April 2017
  •  Published: 30 June 2017


This study was carried out within February to June, 2015 to 2016 on macrofungi samples collected from different localities within Iraqi Kurdistan region - Northern Iraq. This mountainous region is rich in forest trees with diverse groups of shrubs and herbs and is expected to support the growth of many macrofungal species. However, this part of Iraq is still unexplored from macrofungal point of view. In this paper seven basidiomycetous macrofungal species from seven genera , six families and two orders : Inocybe flocculosa, Pleurotus nebrodensis, Psathyrella spadiceogrisea, Schizophyllum commune, Volvopluteus gloiocephalus (Agaricales), Lentinus tigrinus and Trametes trogii (Polyporales) were reported from Iraqi Kurdistan. These macrofungal species are recorded for the first time from Iraq.


Key words: Macrofungi , Agaricales , Polyporales , Iraqi Kurdistan.


Macrofungi (or macromycetes) are fungi that produce fruiting bodies visible to naked eye (Mueller et al., 2007). Macrofungi are Basidiomycota or Ascomycota and most of them are saprotrophic or mutualistic (mycorrhizal) but some are plant pathogens (Mueller et al., 2007; Devi and Shrivastava, 2016). Beside their role in ecosystem processes (decomposers of dead wood, bioremediation and biocontrol agents, mycorrhizal organisms), macrofungi serve as food ,medicine and producers of pharmaceutical active compounds and many other benefits (Redhead, 1997; De Silva et al., 2013) . Out of 1.5 million species of fungi estimated in the world, only 21,679 macrofungal species (that is,  1.5%  of  all  known fungal species) have been described (Mueller et al., 2007) .
Kurdistan of Iraq is a mountainous region situated at the northern and north eastern parts of Iraq, varying from some 500 to 800 m in altitude in the lowest valleys and 2000 to 3600 m at the summits of the highest ranges (Lahony, 2013).
The Iraqi Kurdistan region (36° 11′ 0″ N, 44° 0′ 0″ E) comprises three governorates, Erbil, Suliamaniya and Duhok. It is bordered by Syria to the west, Iran to the east, and Turkey to the north, lying where fertile plains meet the Zagros Mountains. It is traversed by the Sirwan River and the Tigris and its tributaries, the Great Zab and the Little Zab.
Kurdistan of Iraq covers about 40,000 Km2 of Iraq. It is with a cold winter (December – March or April) and relatively high rainfall upwards to 800 mm and the mountains above approximately the 1800 m level are snowbound for several months and snows often falls in the valleys, while the summer though hot and dry, is comparatively of shorter duration (June to September) than on the other parts of Iraq (May to October). These factors contribute to richer biodiversity situation especially the floral components (Lahony, 2013). Despite its biogeographic importance, Northern Iraq is still unexplored from macrofungal standpoint. However, surveys on macrofungi were reported from some countries bordering Iraq like Turkey (Akata et al., 2014; Güngör et al., 2013; Güngör et al., 2015; Sesli and Denchev, 2008), Iran (Amoopour et al., 2016; Ghobad - Nejhad and Kotiranta, 2008; Ghobad-Nejhad and Hallenberg, 2012), Jordan (Saba, 1991) and Saudi Arabia (Abou - Zeid and Altalhi, 2006) . This paper deals with seven basidiomycetous macrofungi new to Iraq.


Macrofungi samples were collected from different localities within Kurdistan region in the north of Iraq during February to June, 2015 to 2016. These localities are Sami Abdul - Rahman Park (36° 11´ 32.6328" N 43° 59´ 7.3356" E, elevation 394 m) and Qandil mountains (36° 32´ 28" N 44° 59´ 46" E , elevation 3587 m), Erbil district; Chuwarta (35° 43ʹ N 45° 34ʹ E, 20 Km NE Suliamaniya, elevation 1361 m), Dukan lake (36° 08′ N 44° 55′ E, 60 km NW of Suliamaniya, elevation 515 m) and Tawela (35° 12´ N 46° 10´ E , elevation 1500 m), Suliamaniya district; Amadia (37° 05′ 33″ N 43° 29′ 14″E , 70 km N of Duhok, elevation 1202 m), Amadia district. Habit (solitary, gregarious or other growth form) and habitat (host or substratum) of the samples with season of fruiting body appearance were recorded and samples were photographed in their natural habitats. Macroscopic features (including features such as cap size, shape, color and surface texture; gills color, attachment to stipe (if present); stipe size, color and surface texture) and microscopic features (including characters like basidia size and their spore number, spore shape, size and color and presence or absence of cystidia and their shapes and types) of macrofungi were reported. Cotton blue in lactophenol was used for light microscopy. Macrofungi were identified according to literatures, keys and monographs (Gargano et al., 2011; Justo et al., 2011; Kuo, 2003; Kuo, 2011; Laursen et al., 2013; Phillips, 2013; Ryvarden and Gilbertson, 1993; Senthilarasu, 2015; Watanabe, 2010). All samples were deposited in Biology Department, College of Sciences, Tikrit University. 


During the survey of different localities of Iraqi Kurdistan region, Northern Iraq, seven basidiomycetous macrofungal species, Inocybe flocculosa, Pleurotus nebrodensis, Psathyrella spadiceogrisea, Schizophyllum commune, Volvopluteus gloiocehalus (Agaricales), Lentinus tigrinus and Trametes trogii (Polyporales) were reported. These fungi are reported for the  first  time  from Iraq. Their description and distribution are given as follows:
Kingdom: Fungi
Subkingdom: Dikarya
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Subphylum: Agaricomycotina
Class: Agaricomycetes
Subclass: Agaricomycetidae
Order: Agaricales
Family: Inocybaceae
Species: Inocybe flocculosa (Berk) Sacc. Fruiting body: Cap 20 to 25 mm broad, tiny, fibrous, bell or convex with light umbonate, pale brown, surface tomentose to squamose appear lighter than the ground color; gills attached to the stipe, pale brown, crowded; stipe 40 to 60 mm long, 3.0 to 3.8 mm wide, cylindrical, surface cream colored, pruinose, solid, bent at the bulbose base, central; ring and volva absent (Figure 1). Microscopic feature: Basidium 20 - 25 × 6.25 - 7.5 µm, 4 - spored, spores 8.0 - 11.25 × 5.5 - 6.5 µm, almond, smooth, light brown color; cheilocystidia and pleurocystidia similar 90.6 - 112.0 × 20 - 25 µm, hyaline, fusiform, apically with light brown crystals (Figure 2). 
Gregarious among leaf litter in mixed forest of Quercus spp. and other tree species in Chuwarta, Suliamanyia district, inedible, March to April. Inocybe flocculosa was reported from Japan (Kobayashi and Courtecuisse, 1993), India (Cimap, 2005) and Turkey (Sesli and Denchev, 2008; Solak et al., 2009). Reports are not available on this species from Iran and Arab countries bordering Iraq.
Order: Agaricales
Family: Pleurotaceae
Species: Pleurotus nebrodensis ( Inzenga ) Quel.
Fruiting body: cap 38 to 142 mm broad , 60 to 110 mm high, fleshy, initially hemispherical to convex with inrolled margin, then flattens and finally depressed at centre with uplifted wavy margin, smooth, cracking a part at maturity; gills decurrent, whitish at first then turn white yellowish or creamy or light brown, crowded, edges smooth; stipe 35 to 83 mm long, 17 to 38 mm wide, cream or whitish, central or excentric , unequal cylindrical, often bent, surface with longitudinal grooves, solid; ring and volva absent (Figure 3). Microscopic features: Basidium 45 - 55 × 8 - 10 µm , 4 - spored , spores 9.0 - 12.5 × 5.0 - 7.5 µm, hyaline, cylindrical, smooth; cheilocystidia abundant 45 - 50 × 7.5 - 9.0 µm, granular capitate (Figure 4).
Solitary or gregarious on plants debris, edible, Haw Mountain, Amadia district and Qandil Mountain, Erbil district, April to May. Pleurotus nebrodensis was reported from Turkey (Sesli and Denchev, 2008) and other countries like Spain (De Román and Boa, 2004) and Italy (Venturella et al., 2002). This species was declared by IUCN as critically endangered species in 2006 (Venturella, 2006).
Order: Agaricales
Family: Psathyrellaceae
Species: Psathyrella spadiceogrisea (Schaeff.) Maire. Fruiting body: Cap 10 to 30 mm broad, 5 to 10 mm high, somewhat fleshy, conical or convex, smooth, medium brown; gills attached to the stipe, dark brown; stipe 10 to
50 mm long, 10 to 12 mm wide, unequal cylindrical, central, hollow, whitish, appear dark brown  at  the  upper
part near the cap, without ring and volva (Figure 5).
Microscopic features: Basidium 20- 25 × 10- 12 µm,4- spored, spores 7 - 10 × 4.0 - 6.5 µm, elliptical with pore, smooth, deep brown; pleurocystidia clavate and utriform to about 50.0 × 12.5 µm; cheilocystidia similar to utriform pleurocystidia (Figure 6) .
Solitary or gregarious on trunks of dead grape (Vitis vinifera) trees, inedible, Dukan Lake, Sulaimaniya district, February to March . This fungal species was reported from Italy (Perini et al., 1999), Austria (Pidlich - Aigner et
al., 2001), Czech Republic and Slovakia (Vašutová, 2006), Nordic countries (Larsson and Örstadius, 2008), Turkey (Doğan et al., 2007; Sesli and Denchev, 2008) and Cameron (Kinge et al., 2013).
Order: Agaricales
 Family: Schizophyllaceae
Species: Schizophyllum commune Fries
Fruiting body: Cap 10 to 50 mm broad, tiny, sessile or on short stem, fan shaped or shell shaped, irregular, depending on where it attached to the trunk, white to light grayish or tan, upper surface covered with dense hairs; gills grayish, narrow, diffuse from the attachment point, split longitudinally and they curl back to protect the hymenium during dry weather (Figure 7). Microscopic features: basidium 4 - spored; spores 5.5 - 7.0 × 0.9 - 3 .0 µm, cylindrical, curved in one end, smooth, hyaline; clamp connections present; cystidia absent (Figure 8).
Overlapping or gregariously on dead or living Prunus domestica and P. armeniaca trees, edible, Dukan Lake, Sulaimaniya district, March to April. Schizophyllum commune was reported from Turkey (Afyon et al., 2005; Sesli and Denchev, 2008), Iran (Ghobad-Nejhad and Wallenberg, 2012) and other countries like Brazil (Groposo and Loguercio, 2005).
Order: Agaricales
Family: Pluteaceae
Species: Volvopluteus gloiocephalus (DC.) Vizzini, Contu & Justo
Fruiting body: Cap 76 to 90 mm broad , fleshy , bell shaped at early stage becoming convex or flat in age with umbonate, radialy streaked with apprised pale grayish fibrils, smooth, shiny, whitish to creamy; gills free from the stipe, broad, thick, crowded and have a pink color; stipe 124 to 129 mm long, 10 to 12 mm wide, solid, easy to separate from the cap, cylindrical tapering slightly to top, pruinose, ring absent; volva: 21 to 25 mm long, membranous, sac - like (Figure 9). Microscopic features: Basidium 22.5 - 40.0 × 10.0 - 12.5 µm, 4 - spored; spores 10.0 - 17.5 × 8.0 - 11.25 µm, elliptical with smooth wall , pinkish brown color; both pleurocystidia (50 - 75 × 10 - 15) µm and cheilocystidia clavate; clamp connections absent (Figure 10).
Solitary, scattered on soil, edible, Sami Abdul - Rahman Park, Erbil district, March to April. Volvopluteus gloiocephalus was reported from Turkey (Atila and Kaya, 2008; Kaya, 2015) and Iran  (Fadavi  and  Abbasi,  2015).
Order: Polyporales
Family: Polyporaceae
Species: Lentinus tigrinus (Bull.) Fr.
Fruiting body: Cap 42 to 140 mm broad, fleshy, convex at early stage with blackish brown then becoming funnel shaped and white yellowish color with a somewhat wavy margin, upper surface covered with dense blackish brown hairs or scales which become scattered and crowded over the center in age; gills - like decurrent, white to yellowish white, crowded, toothed; stipe 48 to 62 mm long, 6 to 12 mm wide, yellowish white, centric, cylindrical, attenuate downwards into blackish root - like extension, covered with blackish brown hairy scales, dark at the base, often bent, hollow; ring and volva absent (Figure 11) . Microscopic features: basidium 18 - 20 × 4.5 - 5.0 µm , 4 - spored; spores 6.25 - 10.0 × 2.5 - 3.75 µm, narrow cylindrical or fusiform, hyaline, smooth; clamp connections present; cystidia absent (Figure 12
Gregarious on dead Pistacia atlantica trees (Habbat Khadra in Arabic, Qazwan in Kurdish), localy edible, Haw mountain, Amadia, Amadia district, April to June. This fungus was reported from Turkey (Sesli and Denchev, 2008), south western Nigeria (Adejumo and Awosanya, 2005), Thailand (Karunarathnas et al., 2011), Philippine (Dulay et al., 2014; Dulay et al., 2012), Pakistan (Razaq and Shahzad, 2015) and India (Senthilarasu, 2015; Sharma and Atri, 2015).
Order: Polyporales
Family: Polyporaceae
Species: Trametes trogii Berk.
Fruiting body: Cap 46 to 163 mm long, sessile, effused or resupinate, snowy white or cottony colored flesh. In maturity, the color turns to cream - buff or brown - buff, the upper surface covered with roughen brown hairs and the texture of the fungus becomes tough and wooden in age and shows the surface of the cap divided into zonate and sharp edges, flesh brown, continuous with tubular layer and characterized by the inability to separate the tubes from each other and ends at apex with circular brown pores (Figure 13). Microscopic features: Basidium 19 - 22 × 5.5 - 7.5 µm wide, 4 - spored, spores 10.0 - 12.5 × 2.5 - 5.0 µm, cylindrical, hyaline; hyphal system, trimitic, generative hyphae with clamp connections, skeletal hyphae with non - septate and binding hyphae that is frequently branching; cystidia absent (Figure 14).
Gregarious to cluster on soil in orchards and on dead Populus trees, inedible, Amadia, Amadia district, April to June. Trametes trogii was reported from Turkey (Sesli and Denchev, 2008) and warmer parts of Europe (Ryvarden and Gilbertson, 1993).



It is concluded that the vegetation and climatic conditions make Iraqi Kurdistan an ideal place for growth and development of macro fungi. This region is still unexplored from macrofungal point of view. Hence further survey of this group of fungi in this region is of great importance towards creating a checklist of macrofungi in Iraq. 


The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.


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