Gomphidius roseus (Roze spijkerzwam (BE) / Rosy spike-cap (EN) / Rosenroter Schmierling (DE) / Gomphide rose (FR)) is a gilled mushroom in the Gomphidaceae family. The genus name is derived from the Greek "γομφος" "gomphos" meaning "plug" or "large wedge-shaped nail" referring to the overal shape of the species. The specific epithet "roseus" is the Latin adjective "pink". Although it has gills, it is a member of the order Boletales, along with the boletes.
There is something very strange about this very attractive little mushroom, and it puzzled experts for a very long time. It was thought to be a mycorrhizal fungus, creating a symbiotic relationship with pine trees (Pinus sylvestris). But wherever Gomphidius roseus appeares, another, much more common species, invariably showes up (mostly but not necessarily at the same time). Suillus bovinus ("Jersey cow mushroom" - a true bolete) is also found under pine trees, with which it forms an ectomycorrhizal relationship, the fungus and the tree providing each other with some of their nutrient needs. In fact we now know that Gomphideus roseus is a parasite, feeding on the mycorrhizae created by the bolete and the pine tree.
Image: Schilde (BE) - 05/10/2010
© Johan Dierckx
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