Podaxis pistillaris (L.)Fr.,Systema Myco.3:63(1829) Fig. 6
MycoBank number: MB 356687; Index Fungorum number: IF 356687; Facesoffungi number: FoF 09293;
Fruiting Body –8–15 cm in height, white to cream, centrally stipitate, solid when young, papery and powdery at maturity. Stipe –central, 5–10 cm long, 1.5–2.0 cm in diameter, abruptly bulbous at the base, sometimes twisted, concolorous with the peridium and fibrillose to scaly. Peridium – 4–10 cm high, 2.5–5.0 cm wide, cylindrical and white. Exoperidium –white when immature and scaly. Endoperidium –olive to brown to blackish- brown at maturity. Gleba –white when young, which changes to yellowish, then reddish-brown and finally black, and powdery at the time of dispersal of spores. Spores –with wide range in size from specimens collected from different localities, size ranging from 4.0–7.5 × 7.0–9.5 μm, globose, subglobose to broadly ellipsoid, smooth, variable in colour from light brown to dark fuscous brown, double walled, outer wall thick, with a distinct germ pore.
Ecology and distribution–Podaxis pistillaris has been known to occur on sandy soils in various regions of the world and has been reported from Southern Iraq (Muhsin et al. 2012), Brazil (Baseia& Galvao 2002), Mexico (Martin et al. 2005), Saudi Arabia (Hashem & Al-Rahmah 1993) and Yemen (Al-Fatimi et al. 2006). In India, Podaxis pistillaris has been reported by Ahmad (1939), Hennings (1901), Thind &Thind (1982), Doshi& Sharma (1997), Sharma et al. (2009), Patel &Tiwari (2012), Patil et al. (1995) and Mridu & Atri(2015).
Specimens examined – JNV/Mycl/160 and 161 on 25 August 2018 in Zones IA, IC and IIB on sandy dunes of the Thar Desert of Jaisalmer and amongst grasses on well drained sandy soil, collected by Charu Panwar. 25°45’0.00″N 71°22’48.00″E Barmer, elevation:227 m (745 ft), 28°01’3.43″N73°18’53.82″E Bikaner, elevation:242 m (794 ft), 26°55’3.47″N70°54’13.93″E Jaisalmer, elevation: 225 m (738 ft), 28°18’0.00″N74°57’0.00″E Churu, elevation:292 m (958 ft), 26°16’6.28″N73°00’21.38″E Jodhpur, elevation:231 m (758 ft), 25°20’44.09″N72°36’56.12″E Jalore, elevation:178 m (584 ft), 25°46’12.00″N73°19’48.00″E Pali, elevation: 214 m (702 ft), 24°53’18.17″N72°50’52.58″E Sirohi, elevation:321 m (1,053 ft).
Note–There has been much controversy with regard to the taxonomy and the reduction of Podaxis specimens to a single species. Taxonomic research conducted by Morse (1933) on North American Gasteromycetes, has led to a reduction of 32 species of Podaxis under a single name, Podaxis pistillaris. This outcome has not been accepted by various researchers like Heim (1939, 1977) but has been widely adopted by Bottomley (1948) and Doidge (1950). The taxonomy of Podaxis has been reviewed by B.H. Conlon et al. (2016). According to him, there are 44 recognized species named in the Index Fungorum but the vast majority of studies and fungarium specimens still refer to P. pistillaris.
Antimicrobial and antifungal activities of Podaxis pistillaris have already been explored by the authors earlier (Panwar& Purohit 2002, Panwar et al. 2002), taxonomic descriptions of all the species have been given in this communication.
Fig. 6–a, b Fruiting bodies of Podaxis pistillaris growing on sand dunes and in grasslands in natural conditions. c, d Spores of Podaxis pistillaris. Scale bar: a, b = 5 cm, c,d = 20 µm.