• ectomycorrhiza;
  • Guapira;
  • molecular identification;
  • Neea;
  • neotropical mountain rain forest;
  • Nyctaginaceae;
  • Russulaceae;
  • Thelephoraceae


  • • 
    Three members of the Nyctaginaceae, two Neea species and one Guapira species, occurred scattered within a very species-rich neotropical mountain rain forest. The three species were found to form ectomycorrhizas of very distinctive characters, while all other tree species examined formed arbuscular mycorrhizas.
  • • 
    The ectomycorrhizas were structurally typified according to light and transmission electron microscope investigations. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rDNA and part of the nuclear large subunit (LSU, 28S) rDNA of the mycorrhiza forming fungi were amplified and sequenced. Phylogenetic analyses were carried out.
  • • 
    Neea species 1 was found to form typical ectomycorrhizas with five different fungal species, Russula puiggarii, Lactarius sp., two Tomentella or Thelephora species, and one ascomycete. Neea species 2 and the Guapira species were associated with only one fungus each, a Tomentella/Thelephora species clustering closely together in an ITS-neighbour-joining tree. The long and fine rootlets of the Guapira species showed proximally a hyphal mantle and a Hartig net, but distally intracellular fungal colonization of the epidermis and root hair development. The ectomycorrhizal segments of the long roots of Neea species 2 displayed a hyphal mantle and a Hartig net around alive root-hair-like outgrowths of the epidermal cells.
  • • 
    The distribution and the evolution of ectomycorrhizas in the predominantly neotropic Nyctaginaceae are discussed.